When rosé recently gained official entry to the Prosecco DOC, it seemed to cause a bit of a divide. Among casual wine drinkers I spoke with, there was a sense of excitement. This made sense, as the new category brings together two of America's favorite wines—rosé! Prosecco!—so the feeling was that the results would be a best-of-both-worlds type of situation.
But among many of the wine professionals I know, a sense of caution seemed to carry the day: Would these wines be uniquely delicious in their own right, or just literally rose-hued glasses through which to see otherwise mediocre pink sparklers?
Once samples became available stateside, I tasted as many as I could. And now that I've tried a broad swath of them, I have to admit that the amateurs were right. These wines, at their best, are absolutely charming.
Of course, not all Prosecco rosé is worth buying; I tasted plenty of mass-produced and forgettable examples. But more bottles of Prosecco rosé than not were delightful. At their best, they exhibited a phenomenal balance between generous fruit, subtle suggestions of flowers, and enough acidity to make you crave a second sip, and then a third. Even the best Extra Dry bottlings—which actually means "a little bit sweet"—found a real sense of balance.
As for that pink glow, it comes from the inclusion of 10 to 15 percent of Pinot Nero in the blend. Glera still forms the core of these wines—as it does with all Prosecco—but the addition of Pinot Nero lends them a hit of berries, cherries, and occasional spice. All of them, per DOC regulations, will be vintage bottlings.
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Here are nine that represent what Prosecco rosé does so well, listed alphabetically. All of them are lively and affordable. Which is exactly what we all could use these days.
2019 Albino Armani Prosecco DOC Rosé Extra Dry ($14)
Beautiful lighter color, almost Provencal in appearance. Flowers lead the way here, with jasmine and honeysuckle joined by hints of lavender, stone fruit, and red cherries. This is a remarkably beautiful wine, with mineral and cantaloupe touches on the finish.
2019 Gancia Prosecco DOC Rosé Extra Dry ($15)
Flavors of candied red apples, strawberry Jolly Ranchers, honey pizzelles, the suggestion of candied ginger, and well-balanced acidity. This is on the sweeter side even for Extra Dry, but it works.
2019 Lunetta Prosecco DOC Rosé Extra Dry ($12)
Incisive aromas of fresh-squeezed oranges, red raspberries, and minerals turn to a palate of real energy with unexpected flavors of melon pith, as well as cherry pits and hard apples. More savory for an Extra Dry, especially in comparison to the others here.
2019 Mionetto Prosecco DOC Rosé Extra Dry ($15)
A very pretty nose of orange blossoms, cherries, oranges, and a hit of lime zest tees up a palate of sweet, ripe cherries and red berry fruit, which is flashed through with ginger, white-blossom flowers, pink grapefruits, and honey. Nice and complex, yet totally gulpable.
2020 Pasqua "Romeo & Juliet" Prosecco DOC Rosé Extra Dry ($15)
A slightly candied nose, followed by a floral palate, with rose petals, nectarines, raspberries, and candied red apples. A real "pool pounder" in the best sense of the term.
2019 Pizzolato Prosecco DOC Rosé Brut ($19)
Wonderfully floral aromas join nectarines and Mandarin orange oil, and set the stage for bright, refreshing flavors of yellow apples, satsumas, honey, and a touch of almond blossom. So elegant.
2019 Riondo Cuvee No. 16 Prosecco DOC Rosé Extra Dry ($12)
Fresh strawberries, red cherries, and Mandarin orange aromas lead to flavors reminiscent of Hubba-Bubba bubble gum in the best possible sense. This is lively and effusive.
2019 Valdo Marca Oro Prosecco DOC Rosé Brut ($15)
Watermelons and strawberries precede flavors of cherry fruit roll-ups, bubble gum, candied violets, and Seckel pears. Fresh and friendly.
2019 Voga Prosecco DOC Rosé Extra Dry ($13)
Juicy Fruit flavors, orange Creamsicle and sherbet linger through the finish. As the chill diminishes, it begins to show flavors in the vein of Jarritos Tamarind soda and watermelon candies. This is a crowd-pleaser in a category of crowd-pleasers.