11 Best Inexpensive Rosé Wine Brands Available Now in California


I’m here for rosé season. Something about the longer daylight hours and the ambient scents of blooming flowers this time of year puts me in a state of mind where all I want is a glass of cold rosé wine. We all know by now that rosé is an appropriate beverage choice any time of the year, but there’s always something about the bright, crisp vibe of summer that makes rosé taste especially delicious.

Rosé in California has come a long way. Once derided as sugary swill in the era of cheap white Zinfandel, dry rosé suddenly became all the rage a decade ago, giving rise to a generation of internet slogans (and merchandise brands ): Yes Way Rosé, Rosé All Day, Brosé.

But rosé has transcended trend status. It is now a permanent part of life in California. These days, apparently, every winery in the state makes a rosé, and the winemakers constantly tell me that it’s their most popular, fast-selling product. People can’t get enough.

That means there’s more rosé – and more good rosé – than ever to choose from, which can lead to difficult decision-making at the wine store. The good news is that I’ve done some of the vetting work for you, tasting a wide range of California rosés currently available at affordable prices. Here are the best bottles of the moment, listed in alphabetical order.

Note: I bought all of these wines for $20 or less on K&L and Wine.com. Prices can vary by retailer, sometimes by several dollars.

Arnot Roberts Rosé California 2020 ($20, 11%): This wine has more texture than a typical rosé, with a light tannic grip that adds a nice bitterness to its orange peel and cantaloupe notes. The grapes are an unusual blend of Touriga Nacional, a Portuguese variety, plus Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Grenache.

balletto 2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Rosé ($20, 13.3%): Aromas of rose petals lead to the juicy heart of this wine, which suggests flavors of nectarine and watermelon. A simple example of the dry Provencal style.

Ernest 2020 Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir Cleary Ranch Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($14, 11.5%): A very pale colored wine that smells of spring blossom on the nose, with an all-lemony palate — think blood orange and lemon. grapefruit. Its weight is light as a feather, framed by piercing acidity.

Fossil Spike Rosé de Grenache Edna Valley 2020 ($13, 13.2%): There’s a brackish, saline note that carries the palate of this wine, grown in the Edna Valley’s heavily ocean-influenced Central Coast region . This is a rosé that relies on freshness and extremely lively acidity rather than bold fruit flavors.

Grimm’s Cliff River Stone Rosé de Cabernet Sauvignon Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara 2020 ($12, 12.8%): Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t always the best candidate for rosé, but Grimm’s Bluff has fashioned a beautifully expressive version from the grape . It smells of apple nectar, with crisp flavors of red fruits and baking spices.

Leo Steen 2020 Dry Creek Valley Rosé de Grenache ($20, 13.5%): Flavors of cranberry and raspberry mingle with savory notes of herbs and pepper in this complex rosé, led by lively acidity.

Lucy 2021 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir Rosé ($17, 13.9%): This zesty, bright, ripe-tasting rosé was one of my favorites from the tasting. It is reminiscent of strawberry jam and rhubarb, with a smooth viscosity to its texture that invites sip after sip.

Pedroncelli 2021 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Rosé ($20, 13.9%): A literally grown-up version of white Zinfandel, this wine is deep magenta in color and full of flavor and texture. There’s a slight spritz when you first open the bottle, enlivening the bold flavors of raspberry, cherry and cinnamon.

strong rodney 2021 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Rosé ($20, 13%): Here’s a delicate, floral classic take on rosé, with an aroma of potpourri and flavors of strawberry and watermelon.

Stopman “Love You Bunches” Rosé Central Coast 2021 ($19, 12.5%): A blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah — three varietals commonly used in classic rosés from the south of France — this electric rosé is bursting with citrus, of sweet and fair herbs – flavors of barely ripe strawberries.

Three by Wade Rosé California ($18, 13%): From the label owned by basketball star Dwyane Wade, this rosé balances tart citrus flavors with a hint of bitterness and round, dense weight. Flavors of fresh oranges and cherries stand out.

Esther Mobley is the principal wine critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: [email protected]

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Jean H. Vannatta