The Scene

Uncorked: Best rosé wines reveal their own distinct traits

Susy Vasquez, winemaker LangeTwins

Susy Vasquez was excited about a windy day.

The LangeTwins winemaker wanted to get home and fly a new kite with her son. Reminiscent of a kite soaring on a warm and windy spring day, rosé has ridden the thermals of increasing consumer demand to reach new heights. What once was a seasonal varietal favored by winemakers for its crispy, refreshing nature and by winery accountants for its minimal aging that leads to a revenue stream that arrives earlier than for the reds, rosé has gone mainstream.

Movie stars and musicians have turned into vintners. Rosé now is on wine store and even grocery store shelves throughout the year. As its popularity has skyrocketed, the danger of over-saturation has grown.

Is it possible to keep the production of rosé with its own distinct traits?

Vasquez said it’s up to winemakers to capture the essence of their vineyards and make wines that are true to the growing season.

“There are really interesting California rosé [wines] with their own personality,” Vasquez said. “I think when we get to the point that people start thinking a rosé should have strawberry or watermelon flavors only, that’s when we close the doors. That’s the style that is moving. When we keep the wine’s personality based on the varietal, people will still find rosé interesting.”

Because Lodi featured vineyard trials for varieties from around the world, there’s a wide variety of options available to winemakers. LangeTwins has been passionate about Italian varieties, and due to their area’s similarities to the aglianico grape’s homeland of Campania in southern Italy, Vasquez has the perfect fit for the rosé.

LangeTwins is known for its Aglianico Rosé from the River Ranch Vineyard.

“In Campania, the weather is very warm,” Vasquez said. “Because aglianico thrives in hot weather, when it was brought to Lodi, it did very well. We have days that are around 100, and nights that are 60 degrees. We are so close to the Sacramento River Delta, and that cold breeze comes in at night.”

When Olivier Souvelain wakes up, rosé is on his mind. Probably because the Château Gassier CEO went to bed thinking about the wine when he fell asleep.

Such is life for a vigneron in Provence, France, an area synonymous with rosé.

“We think about (rosé) every day and every night,” Souvelain said. “From the vineyard to the vinification, we think only for one product. When you want to do a grenache, syrah, cinsault or mourvedre for a red wine, you will do everything differently than you would for a rosé.”

When Château Gassier transitioned to organic farming in 2016, a process that was six years in the making, Souvelain noticed a difference in the wines. Roots had to go deep into the limestone and clay soils for water and nutrients.

The struggle led to a wine reflective of the place.

“We have a huge, beautiful mountain behind us, and are located on the eastern side of Provence,” Souvelain said. “We are at the foothill of the mountain in an area recognized in 2004 as a nature preserve. Our site allows us to preserve the acidity in the wines. The terroir of limestone and a lot of clay leads to a red soil. Some days, the mountain looks white, gray or, depending on if it rains or is sunny, it could look totally different and beautiful.”

• James Nokes has been tasting, touring and collecting in the wine world for several years. Email him at


Avaline, Rosé, France 2022 ($24): Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power collaboration; loads of information on the label, which offers a unique transparency. An oily mouthfeel with cantaloupe, honey dew melon and tart citrus notes on the finish.

Avaline, Sparkling Rosé, France N/V 2022 ($35): Strawberry, brioche, citrus and a tight collection of bubbly effervescence.

Chateau La Mascaronne, Cotes de Provence 2022 ($30): Crispy acidity slices through the watermelon and strawberry flavors. Snappy and focused due to the vibrant freshness the acidity provided.

Chateau Gassier, Côtes de Provence AOP Rosé 2022 ($19): A pale pink color gives way to a rosé focused on fresh strawberry flavors with citrus and mango notes.

J, Russian River Valley, Sparkling Brut Rosé ($50): Strawberry cream soda-like for its creamy mouthfeel. Small, crunchy raspberry and strawberry flavors. There’s a toasty note that sneaks in and playfully tangles with the creamy mouthfeel and fresh-fruit flavors.

LangeTwins, River Ranch Vineyard, Aglianico Rosé 2021 ($27): Cantaloupe, strawberry, sweet watermelon and a mouthwatering acidity on the finish. The favorite rosé of this report.

Souleil Vin de Bonté Le Rosé 2022 ($17.99): Cantaloupe on the nose; loved the melon and Maldon salt notes in the mid-palate, turning tart with citrus and lime zest on the finish. A really awesome rosé.