The Best Rosé Wines of 2023
Today we see rosé wines as a spring and summer essential. Bringing consequences like “rosé all day” plastered on napkins, wine glasses, sweatshirts, etc. But if we look back in time, it’s not an entirely novel concept.
Rosé dates back to 1550 BCE with the Phoenicians. Rather than it being the mark of warm weather’s arrival, it was a source of daily hydration. With water being a far cry from the dependable drinking source we know today, the ancients would pour it into red wine as a way to disinfect it. This practice would endure throughout the history of Ancient Greece and well into the Roman Empire. Romans, however, added vinegar and a possible dash of salt, evolving rosé into posca, “the Gatorade of the Roman army.” Soldiers were required to drink at least one liter of posca per day and rationed up to three if in the midst of war.
There was also an omnipresent belief that drinking undiluted red wine led to madness. This was the rumored cause of the Spartan King Cleomenes I’s insanity.
So, although “rosé all day” may seem like a relatively new slogan, the practice is old, deliberate, and highly necessary. What better excuse to do as the ancients did? Grab a glass and sit down to discover Worth’s picks for the best rosés of 2023.
Old World Wines
History: For over 85 years, the Matton-Farnet family has owned Château Minuty, located on the Saint-Tropez peninsula. Built by Napoleon III in the mid-1800s, Gabriel Farnet acquired the property in 1936. Over the following 15 years, he focused on replanting the entire estate and surviving World War II. Through his efforts, Château Minuty was restored as a pinnacle of quality within the region. In 1955 his dreams were realized as he became one of 23 producers designated Cru Classé in the Côtes de Provence.
His daughter Monique and son-in-law Etienne Matton would take over the operation in 1960. They continued Farnet’s mission of high-quality creations and furthered it by planting traditional Provençal grape varietals. Today, Château Minuty is run by Farnet’s grandsons Jean-Etienne and François and Jean-Ettiene’s daughter Anne-Victoire.
Tasting: This wine can be characterized as a delicate masterpiece. Notes of citrus and exotic fruits blossom from the glass. With each swirl, aromas of white fleshy fruits and white pepper bloom leading you into your first sip. On the palate, you will be surprised by the enhanced notes of pepper and the unexpected fullness of this cuvée. Together, they will carry you into a finish that is long and pronounced. Rated 93 by Wine Enthusiast.
History: Château Roubine is one of the oldest wineries in France. To give an idea, its original owners were the Order of the Templars before it was lost to the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in 1307. Over the next six centuries, Château Roubine would pass from the Order of Saint John to various Provençal families until being fragmented in 1789 due to the French Revolution. In 1955, alongside Château Minuty, Château Roubine joined the ranks of the 23 wine estates designated Cru Classé of the Côtes de Provence. Since 1994, St. Tropez native Valérie Rouselle has owned the estate converting the property into an ecosystem of organic and biodynamic agriculture.
Tasting: If forced to choose two words that describe this rosé, they would be floral and citrus. Specifically kumquat and cherry blossom. The nose is fresh and foreshadows the minerality that saturates the palette. Full red fruits and small berries come together in the mouth to enhance this cuvée’s strong character as the minerality washes it away with refreshing acidity. Rated 92 by Wine Enthusiast.
History: Domaines Ott’s story begins back in 1896 when a young Marcel Ott, an Alsatian agronomy engineer, found himself in Provence. As he stood basking in the Mistral winds coming off the Mediterranean, he knew this would be where his story as a winemaker would begin. In 1912, he would purchase the first of the three estates that make up Domaines Ott, Château de Selle. In the 1930s he acquired Close Mireille, located right on the coast of the Mediterranean. These two estates would become a labor of love for Ott as he began replanting and consolidating each vineyard as phylloxera had wreaked havoc on the vines in the years before.
In 1956, the Ott family would complete their collection by adding Château Romassan, an old property located in Bandol. They would spend the next 30 years restoring the entirety of the estate, turning it into the pinnacle of quality we know it as today.
Now, 120 years later, Jean-Fraçois Ott stands at the helm, dedicating his life to Domaines Ott no different than Marcel.
Tasting Notes: Dive into this picture of precision and finesse. This rosé from Domaine Ott brings images of a world-class ballet as it floats with deliberate ease, yet reminds you just how much work it takes to reach such a quality. Its texture is smooth and full of the vibrancy that comes from ripe red berries, hints of orange zest, and sweet floral notes. Minerality from the limestone soils is ever-present, teasing your tastebuds. You will be shocked at how quickly you finish your first glass. Rated 92 by Wine Enthusiast, and 93 by Vinous.
History: Named after one of its first owners Madame de Simone, Château Simone stands as the namesake of the small appellation of Palette. Located just southeast of the town Aix-en-Provence, the estate’s history in viticulture begins in the 16th century with the monks of Grands Carmes d’Aix. They were responsible for digging the cellars of the estate that are still used today.
In 1830, Nicolas-Toussant Rougier purchased the property and has remained in the family ever since. Jean Rougier, the family’s 4th generation winemaker, made a historic decision when he applied for the AOC in 1947. Rougier understood that the Palette’s terroir had a unique microclimate that separated it from Aix-en-Provence, and the INAO agreed, officially designating the AOC on April 28, 1948.
Tasting: To be named as one of the candidates of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate “Wine of the Vintage,” tells you a lot about the quality of this bottle. For those who are used to experiencing a paler, lighter-bodied rosé, this one will absolutely welcome you into the treasures that the rosé style has to offer. To say that this wine is complex somehow feels like an insult. This cuvée has everything. Beginning with the nose, a bouquet of red berries, orchard fruits, notes of citrus and spices, and an unexpected minty top note explode from the glass in perfect harmony. The mouth is fuller than you might be accustomed to, but this should not discourage you. It is succulent, balanced, and full of minerality. This cuvée will confidently stand up to any occasion and should be savored down to the last sip. Rated 95 by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
History: Considering the homes of the previous two cuvées, La Bastide Blanche is relatively young at just 40 years old. Baptistin Bronzo acquired the property in 1972. Soon after, his sons—Michel and Louis—joined their father, bringing along a hunger to introduce organic and biodynamic practices to the estate. Since 2012, La Bastide Blanche has been certified organic by the EU. Today, the family legacy continues as Michel’s sons Julian and Nicolas now manage the 45-hectare estate across the region of Bandol.
Tasting: A Bandol classic. The nose is a dance between floral and spicy notes that follow the rhythm set by aromas of lemon and dried apricots. The mouth is layered and textured to an expert balance. Fleshy fruits and minerality liven this medium-bodied cuvée, along with a melange of spices. If there was ever a way to be introduced to the region of Bandol, this is the place to start. Rated 92 by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
History: Domaine Terrebrune was founded in 1963 when Georges Delille, a trained sommelier from Paris, bought the estate. Bandol was a relatively new AOC as it had been declared an AOC in 1941. Over the next two decades, there was a community-wide overhaul of the region’s land to restore its vitality and the production of great wine. But even after all this, when Delille bought Terrebrune, he still had to dedicate ten years to renovating the estate. He terraced hillsides, replanted vineyards, thoroughly studied the soils, and even built a new cellar. It wasn’t until the 1980s, when his son Reynauld joined him, that they were able to bottle and sell their first cuvée.
Today, Domaine Terrebrune represents all the qualities that make Bandol such an incredible appellation. From the consistent sea breeze off the Mediterranean to the freshness of the bright sun found in each Mourvèdre grape.
Tasting: This cuvée begins with a satisfying exhale of red berries, spices, pomegranate, and licorice. As you bring it to your lips with an inhale, you indulge in its medium-bodied texture full of dominating exotic fruits, enduring notes of licorice, and supporting acidity. The finish is savory and prolonged. Rated 93 by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
History: The history of Château d’Aqueria begins in 1595 with its namesake, Louis Joseph, Count d’Aqueria, he bought the district of Tavel, “Puy Sablonneux” from the monks of the Abbey of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. During this time, he would plant the estate’s first vines. But it would be his son, Robert, who is responsible for building the Château we know today.
Over the next 400 years, Château d’Aqueria would maintain its winemaking traditions, but pass through the hands of many families. In 1919 Jean Olivier, a doctor of law, would acquire the estate and pass it on to his daughters Mireille de Bez and Nicole Boccon-Gibod. His son-in-law and Mireille’s husband, Paul de Bez, would go on to formally manage the property and continue to grow it until his passing, at which point his sons Vincent & Bruno would take over in 1996.
In 2022 the Guigal family took over from the de Bezs and began a new chapter in Château d’Aqueria’s history. They remain steadfast in their approach to maintaining the rich heritage of the château and honor every hand it has passed through since 1595.
Tasting: This bottle is one of my absolute favorites. To have a wine of this caliber at this price point feels like you’re getting away with something. As per the Tavel region, this rosé is full of summer fruits and savory flavors. It is elegant, complex, structured, and yet somehow soft all at the same time. Notes of raspberries, wild strawberries, pomegranate, and spices endure throughout the nose and palate. The finish is remarkable as it resolves into an echo of freshness and a sense of complete balance. Rated 93 by Wine Enthusiast.
History: Château de Manissy follows in the footsteps of the producers mentioned above with its history-laden existence. Since the 17th century, Manissy has stood tall in the region of Tavel. After World War I, the property’s owner at the time, J. de Talode Du Grail, passed the land onto the Missionary Brothers of the Holy Family. The Brothers planted the first vines right after acquiring the property and started producing its first wines in the early 20th century.
In 2003, Florian André, an 8th-generation winegrower from Tavel, joined the estate as a young winemaker. He dove fully into Château de Manissy, making sure to carry on the work of the Brothers. In 2009, he began the process of making the vineyard certified organic and biodynamic. His message is clear, growing vines sustainably with a low-intervention approach, although more challenging, “is the only way to protect the earth and our planet, our health and the future of our children.”
Tasting: As you pour this cuvée into your glass, the color may shock you. Its dark hue is more akin to that of a light red than a rosé. But it’s this quality that shows you just how ambitious and unique this wine is. Generous aromas of fruit jams, black cherries, spiced orange zest, and warming garrigue spices fill your nose. The palate is structured, and tight, hinting at the fact that this will require a little cellaring. Rated 93+ by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
New World Wines
History: Founded in 1994, Hartford Family Winery is the result of Don and Jennifer Hartford. Located in the heart of Russian River Valley, this winery specializes in single-vineyard productions to emphasize each varietal planted. They strive to make wines full of personality, despite the challenging temperament of the terroir, emphasizing this through their motto “character through adversity.”
Tasting: Citrus, floral, and berry notes travel from the glass, touching on the aromas of strawberry, grapefruit, orange, and white fruits. On the palate, the citrus is bright with the notes of grapefruit taking center stage. Refreshing acidity and supporting, subtle, mineral notes bring character and structure to the wine. Previous vintages rated 94-95 points by Wine Enthusiast.
History: Big Table Farm is the result of a collaborative effort made by husband and wife Brian Marcy and Clare Carver. When the couple moved to Oregon from Napa in 2006, they did so in pursuit of owning their own winery. Soon after arriving, they purchased the farmhouse and property in Gaston, OR that would become the home of Big Table Farm. They have a close relationship with their 70 acres of land—as both winemakers and farmers—and are one of Oregon’s top wineries. Their quality is consistent, their process is thoughtful, and together they are unstoppable.
Tasting: The limited production of just 620 cases makes this wine a hidden gem. Offering a plentiful tasting experience of white pepper aromatics, mint, and wild white strawberries. On the palate, you sit yourself down at a table serving currant, cranberry, and that reminiscent white pepper. Rated 92 by Decanter, and 93 by International Wine Report.