Why Last Year’s Rosés Are Your Best Bet for Drinking Now
Blame it on the supply chain: The rosé vintage we would normally be uncorking now will arrive late. But last year’s excellent vintage has only gotten better, and you can (and should) still find the bottles on wine store shelves.
MANY WINES may sit on store shelves for 12 months or longer. But rosés are marketed as seasonal wines, with the new vintage traditionally replacing the old. For retailers, last year’s rosés are yesterday’s news—except this year, it seems.
Since the rosés from the 2021 harvest will be arriving much more slowly this spring, and there are plenty of last spring’s—i.e., 2020’s—pinks still around, I decided to sample some of these “leftover” wines. Could they be just as good or perhaps even better than they were last year?
Rocco Lombardo, president of the Napa-based wine marketer Wilson Daniels, was one of the few importers I spoke with for this column whose 2021 Provence rosés have arrived stateside. He expected them to be in stores by mid-April. “We sell 75% of our rosés between April and September,” he told me in a phone call. Still, Mr. Lombardo decried the idea that rosé is a “seasonal” wine, to be consumed only at a specific time of year. It makes no more sense to him than the idea that sparkling wine should be consumed only for a celebration.
A complex rosé from Provence has the ability to age, Mr. Lombardo contended. His company is actually creating a library of rosé back-vintages in magnums. “These wines have complexity, and they’re great food wines,” he said.
I found a huge number of 2020 rosés on the shelves of Total Wine & More in West Orange, N.J. I asked a sales associate stacking boxes if customers notice that they are last year’s wines. She assured me that they don’t notice or care. “The wines are still good,” she said.
She was right about the rosés I bought from Total that day. The terrific 2020 Peyrassol Cuvée des Commandeurs Côtes de Provence ($27) from Provence was not just good but downright delicious. There wasn’t anything “leftover” about its floral aromas and bright acidity.
OENOFILE / Last Year’s Rosés, Today’s Terrific Values
2020 Peyrassol Cuvée Des Commandeurs Côtes de Provence
An elegant yet vibrant rosé from one of the oldest properties in Provence, this Grenache-dominant blend is marked by floral notes and a crisp acidity. A rosé that can improve with (a bit of) time.
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