Rosés of Pinot Noir from Around the World: The 2018 Vintage

Rosés made of Pinot Noir are the stars of this year’s rosé tasting. They’re typically light red in color, fragrant with red cherry and pomegranate scents, medium bodied with good fullness in the mouth, and flavorful with flavors that mirror the bouquet. Like every other category of rosé they vary from region to region and producer to producer.  Despite stylistic differences, Pinot Noir rosés share much in common. The Pinot Noir character almost always shines through. Alcohol and acidity levels are moderate. And Pinot Noir rosé is much more likely to be partly fermented and/or aged in neutral oak than is true of other rosés. As a result, many have a fuller, more vinous character than other rosés, especially the very light Provence style rosés so popular today.

Although Pinot Noir rosé has traditionally been made in Sancerre, Burgundy and Riceys in France, in terms of market availability in the US, today it’s at least as much a New World wine, especially from Oregon. In recent years Oregon has experienced tremendous growth in production of rosé, and much of it is based on Pinot Noir. Sparkling rosés made of Pinot Noir are also showing rapid growth, and excellent ones are coming from several East Coast states as our tasting notes below demonstrate.

The best Pinot Noir rosés show good varietal character and excellent balance, and they  typically sell in the $20-$30 range.  We’ve listed below our favorite still Pinot Noir rosés from the 2018 vintage below.

Top Pinot Noir Rosés*

Wine Appellation Score
Domaine Delaporte 2018 Rosé Chavignol Sancerre 93
Lange 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 93
Kramer 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton 92+
Flowers 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir

Bryn Mawr 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast

Willamette Valley



Castello di Amorosa 2018 Rosato Green Valley Sonoma 91
Fox Run 2018 Dry Rosé Finger Lakes 91
Paul Thomas 2018 Rosé Chavignol Sancerre 91
Red Car 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 91
Jean Reverdy 2018 Les Villots Sancerre 90+

*Still table wines scoring above 90 points.

This review of Pinot Noir rosé is one of a series of articles on the rosé wines in the 2019 marketplace. For the sake of completeness, the tasting notes below include the sparkling rosés of Pinot Noir that were covered in our earlier article on New Sparkling Rosés from America and Europe.  Other recent articles on rosé include :

The Wines

Atwater NV Bubble Pinot Noir Rosé Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes ($16) 89  This effervescent rosé offers aromas of sweet fruit and appealing flavors of red berries with notes of orange zest and stone fruit. It has a round mouthfeel and a lingering, just off dry finish. Machine harvested 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Blaufränkisch given 4 hours skin contact before pressing and fermentation and subsequently carbonated to 3.57 atmospheres.

Balleto Vineyards 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley ($20) 90  Copper tinged pink. Made by direct press of whole clusters and fermented cold, this rosé offers an effusive perfume of roses and cherries. It’s a bright, fresh wine with very good balance. A richly styled rosé.

Billsboro 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Finger Lakes ($17) 89 Very pale copper. Revealing minerals and faint red berry scents, this Pinot Noir rosé is crisp on the attack with light flavors of cherry skin and stone fruit. Light but balanced. Handpicked from Sawmill Creek Vineyards on the southeast corner of Seneca Lake, given 6 hours skin contact, cold fermented in stainless steel. RS 1 g/L Alc 13%. Vinny Aliperti is the winemaker.

Stephane Briday NV Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé ($27) 90 Medium salmon color. This is a delicious, expressive sparkling rosé with just a hint of sweetness on the lingering finish. The nose is dry and chalky with dried cherry scents, which are mirrored on the palate with an additional pomegranate note. While very dry on the palate, it has a nice creamy texture and lively flavors. Well done! 16+ months aging in bottle on the lees. Importer: Vineyard Brands, Inc.

Bründlmayer NV Brut Rosé Niederösterreich Austria  91A very flavorful and balanced sparkling rosé made of 1/3 each Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, and St Laurent fermented in stainless steel and aged 15 months on the lees in bottle. Medium copper salmon in color, the wine reveals leesy notes on the nose and notes of blood orange and raspberry flavors. There’s very good sugar-acid tension. Disgorged December 2017. Just 11.5% alc.

Bryn Mawr Vineyard 2018 Pétillant Willamette Valley ($25) 89  This is a carbonated still wine that’s Prosecco like in its fun, easy drinking character. Red cherry skin aromas are followed by a dry attack, a flavorful fresh red cherry palate, and a very dry chalky finish. 59% Pinot Noir, 37% Pinot Gris, 4% Maréchal Foch whole cluster pressed and fermented in neutral French oak. RS 6.3 g/L Alc 11.7%  Bryn Mawr Vineyard 2018 Pétillant Naturel Willamette Valley ($28) 91  Light pink. Light, leesy and dried cherry nose scents are mirrored on the palate with the addition of raspberry notes. Crisp and fresh with a lively mousse, appealing flavors, and a lingering finish. 84% Pinot Gris, 10% Maréchal Foch, 6% Pinot Noir whole cluster pressed and fermented in neutral French oak barrels followed by 6 months on the lees. RS 4.7 g/L Alc 11.3%   Bryn Mawr Vineyard 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Willamette Valley ($25) 92  Light reddish pink. Lifted scents of strawberry and pomegranate. Generous flavors of spicy pomegranate and rhubarb with good extract and bright acidity. Full in the mouth, this is one of our favorite rosés of the 2018 vintage. This is a single vineyard Rosé from Fender’s Rest Vineyard in the Van Duzer Corridor. 80% Pinot Noir clone 777, 10% Pinot Noir Swan clone, 105 Pinot Noir Pommard clone destemmed with 4 days skin contact prior to pressing, then barrel fermented. Alc 11.6%.

Carl Ehrhard 2018 Rosé Rüdesheim Rheingau ($17) 87 Medium copper salmon. Offering a ripe red berry nose, this Pinot Noir based rosé is bright, fresh and almost effervescent in character. Lightly flavored with a dry finish. From 6 vineyards around the town of Rüdesheim.  Importer: Scoperta Cleveland Hts, Ohio

Castello di Amorosa 2018 Rosato di Pinot Noir Cresta D’Oro Vineyard Green Valley Sonoma County ($39) 91  Partly fermented and aged in concrete eggs, this pale pink rosé starts with intricate aromas of red cherry skin and raspberry followed by a very crisp attack. There’s excellent richness of flavor with attractive ruby red grapefruit notes, bright acidity, and a lingering hint of rhubarb on the finish. All told, a first rate rosé and one of our favorites from Calfiornia.

Domaine Delaporte 2018 Rosé Chavignol Sancerre ($31) 93 Perhaps the best rosé we’ve tasted from the 2018 vintage. The nose is crisp with red cherry scents, followed by a crisp, mineral and saline attack and a palate of excellent richness and depth. There’s terrific acidity and a lingering rich extract of cherry and watermelon. 100% Pinot Noir hand picked and direct pressed; from vines 15+ years old.  Importer: Vineyard Brands, Inc.

Domaine Paul Thomas 2018 Chavignol Sancerre ($25) 91 Light red color. This is an outstanding example of Chavignol rosé with orange citrus and cherry skin scents. It’s full in the mouth with a perfumed palate of raspberry, rhubarb and lingering notes of melon. Great acidity and freshness. Made from 35 year old, organically cultivated Pinot Noir vines grown in the domaine’s 6 ha vineyard in Chavignol.  Importer: Shiverick Imports

Domaine Serge LaPorte 2017 Les Bouriscottes Rosé Sancerre ($23) 90  Medium orange-salmon. Showing scents of dried and fresh red cherries with an herbal edge, the Les Boursicottes has excellent brightness good, lingering depth of flavors that mimic the nose. A bit more earthy than is typical for the genre, but overall very pleasant to drink.  Importer: Scoperta Cleveland Hts, Ohio

Fox Run 2018 Dry Rosé Finger Lakes ($18) 91 Light reddish pink. This very attractive blend of Pinot Noir and Blaufränkisch grape offers aromas and flavors of cherry and pomegranate. It has crisp texture and a long, lingering finish.

Flowers 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($32) 92 Pale salmon pink. This direct press, rosé of Pinot Noir, fermented in stainless steel, offers a spicy floral nose of rose petals, intense raspberry and dried cherry scents. These are followed by bright intense red cherry and berry flavors. Extroverted but light and elegant. Lovely wine!! Lovely flavor and acidity, great texture; direct press. Pick at night. Use Champagine press and ferment in stainless steel. Sourced from Bohan and other vineyards. Fresh and rich tasting. Full red fruit from FRS blended with Sebastapol grapes..

Fulcrum 2018 Gap’s Crown Rosé Sonoma County ($38) 89  Pale pink. A saignée method rosé made from clone 828 Pinot Noir, it offers floral and light red berry scents that are mirrored on the palate. Flavorful but not as lively as one would expect from a light rosé.

Jean Reverdy 2018 Less Villots Sancerre ($24) 90 Medium reddish pink. Offering a rich, ripe nose and a round ripe palate, the Les Villots rosé is soft and fruit forward with red berry and cherry aromas and flavors. There’s medium acidity, but there’s less vibrancy here than in prior vintages of this wine. Still, very pleasant and easy drinking.  Importer: Kysela Pere et Fils, Ltd Winchester, VA

Kramer Vineyards 2018 Celebrate! Rosé of Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton ($28) 89 Reddish pink. Showing effusive aromas that evoke pomegranate and cranberry, this is a fun, fruity carbonated sparkler with no pretensions. The palate mirrors the nose with bright, fresh raspberry and red cherry notes. There’s good acidity and balance and lingering fruit notes on the finish. A great party wine! Sourced from own-rooted Gamay Beaujolais clone of Pinot Noir vines planted in the mid-1980s. Alc 12.2% RS 3.6 g/L Kramer Vineyards 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton ($24) 92+Crystal clear light red in color with an expressive perfume of strawberry and other red berries. This Rosé is full in the mouth with a vinous quality not unlike a red Pinot Noir. It’s Tavel like in its intensity but delicate with bright acidity. One of the very best rosés we tasted from the 2018 vintage. A blend of barrel fermented saignée and macerated juice fermented in stainless, blended after fermentation and matured in neutral French oak for several months. Alc 13.4%

Lange 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Dundee Hills ($25) 93 Another outstanding rosé out of Oregon. Crystal clear pale red color, the Lange rosé offers exuberant strawberry and other red berries aromas. It’s full in the mouth with a vinous character and very bright acidity. Made of hand picked and hand sorted 667 and 828 clones planted in the highest altitude Mia Block of the estate vineyard at 740-780′. Given 36 hours skin contact and fermented in neutral French puncheons. Alc 12.9% 100 cs.

Lucashof 2018 Pinot Noir Rosé Trocken Pfalz  89 Pink blush. With aromas that recall spring flowers and red cherry fruit, this German rosé of Pinot Noir is clean, crisp and admirably fresh on the palate with red berry and cherry flavors but a bit short on the acidity. Stylistically like a light red wine. 11.5% alc  Importer: HB Wine Merchants

Mt. Beautiful 2017 Rosé North Canterbury ($16) 90 An incisive, fresh rosé showing just-picked red berries and a touch of citrus. Refreshing on the palate with good acidity and finishing dry. A blend of direct pressed 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Gris, both of which had 12-24 hours skin contact prior to fermentation in barrel and tank.

Pinnacle Ridge 2016 Brut Rosé Lehigh Valley ($18) 89 Outstanding value in a Pinot Noir based sparkler! Aromas of raspberry and rose petal are picked up again on a nicely balanced palate. 9 g/L RS Made with the advice of Walker Schneider, a German consultant.

Ponzi Vineyards 2018 Pinot Noir Rosé Willamette Valley ($23) 90 Copper tinged salmon color. Beautiful bouquet of vibrant red cherry and pomegranate with citrus notes. Excellent balance and freshness on a perfumed palate with flavors that mirror the bouquet. Long on the back end. This is an intentional rosé beginning with fruit selected from cooler sites like the high elevation Merten Vineyards and the Ten Peaks Vineyard, which is near the coast range. The fruit is destemmed and macerated for 24 hours before undergoing a long, cool fermentation; no malo to retain freshness. Alc 13.1% RS 2 g/L Ponzi Vineyards 2014 Sparkling Brut Rosé Willamette Valley ($50) 91 Pale pink. A lovely rich and flavorful sparkling rosé made following the methode champenoise. It has a creamy mousse and a rich and elegant mouth feel with cherry and dried cherry aromas and flavors. The creamy finish lingers and lingers. We really like this wine, which compares favorably with many rosé Champagnes. A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the high elevation Merten Vineyards and the original Estate Vineyard. Pressed and fermented in stainless steel with no malo. Disgorged March 2016. Ponzi’s first sparkling wine was produced in 1996.

Red Car 2018 Rose of Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($28) 91 This is a lovely rose of Pinot Noir offering aromas of wild strawberry and herbs. It is fresh-tasting with excellent acidity and a long finish. 100% barrel fermented and made by direct press with no time on the skins.

Roederer Estate NV Brut Rosé Anderson Valley ($29) 91 Showing lively scents of red berries, the NV Brut Rosé is our go to sparkling rosé for casual get togethers. Consistent in style year after year, it offers light red fruit flavors of berry and cherry on a silky palate complemented by hints of toast. It finishes dry and crisp. Oak aged reserve wines make up 10-15% of the wine. A blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay including about 4.5% red Pinot Noir.

Scharffenberger NV Brut Rosé Excellence Mendocino County ($25) 90  Pale pink salmon. Approximately 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay including a portion of still red Pinot Noir. Scharffenberger has reduced the malo on the base wine for the Brut Rosé. Perhaps that explains why it seems more focused and bright than what we’ve tasted in the past. We like the change. The wine shows expressive California fruit on a well delineated palate with refreshing acidity.

Schlumberger 2015 Pinot Noir Reserve Niederösterreich  Austria 90 Pale eye of the partridge. This is a fresh tasting sparkler that spends at least 30 months on the lees. It’s fresh and creamy with hints of red berries, bright acidity, and with a clean finish.

 Silver Thread Vineyard 2018 Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes ($18) 88  Light orange salmon. Shows a floral nose,\ with a hint of clementine. Soft and almost creamy on the palate. with a note of orange citrus.  100% hand harvested, estate grapes from 15-20 year old vines, part saignée and part direct press and a portion fermented in neutral oak. RS 0 g/L Alc 11.9%.

Small Vines 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley ($29) 91 Copper salmon. Lively bouquet of red berries. A delicious rosé with bright acidity, good balance, and fresh berry and pomegranate flavors complemented by a light touch of herbs. Made direct press, 50% whole cluster with an 8 hour cold soak and barrel fermented.

Sparkling Pointe 2016 Topaz Impérial Long island ($41) 91 The Topaz Impérial is a step up in elegance from most American sparkling rosés. It offers delicate aromas and flavors of cherry skin and red raspberries with complicating light leesy and mineral notes. The mouthfeel is creamy, clean and refined with an attractive, persistent finish. Made using the methode champenoise with 18 months sur lie and dosage of 6 g/L. Alc 12.5%. Disgorged November 2018. Sparkling Pointe 2014 Blanc de Noirs Prestige Cuvée ($68) 92 Pale salmon color. Fragrant nose  showing biscuits and red cherry skin. Fresh and lively in the mouth with superb acid cut and lingering raspberry, cherry and a hint of tangerine. This is a sparkling wine with a refined texture, excellent balance and lingering finish. 50% Pinot Noir (667, 777, and Pommard Clone 4), 50% Pinot Meunier aged 3 years sur lie. 6 g/L dosage. Disgorged July 2018.

Tipp Rambler NV Sparkling Rose California ($7) 89 This is an easy drinking Sparkling Rose made of 100% Pinot Noir sourced from Russian River Valley and Carneros. Packaged in an attractive 187 ML screw top bottle, and sold in four packs, it is made for sparkling wine lovers who want a good quality inexpensive wine for service size drinking. Crafted by veteran winemaker, James MacPhail, it displays a light ruby color and offers aromas of ripe cherry and raspeberry. On the palate it reveals a dried red fruit character, not unlike some Italian wines, and has good persistence.

Tongue Dancer Wines 2018 Rose of Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 88 A ripe flavorful rose from the Putnum Vineyard in Annapolis. Produced via saignée, with two days of skin contact and fermentation in stainless steel. Light ruby in color, it offers aromas and flavors of dried strawberry with mineral notes. It has an alcohol level of 14.5, rather high for a rose and finishes on the tart side.

William Heritage 2015 Brut Rosé Outer Coastal Plain NJ ($40) 90+ A very dry and refined sparkling rosé with fresh red berries and toasty lees notes and a fine mousse. Richly flavored with a lingering rich impression of raspberries and scones, this is a sparkling wine that compares with the best of the New World. Kudos to Sean Cominos. A blend of 57% Chardonnay and 43% Pinot Noir.

Yamhill Valley Vineyards 2018 Rosé of Pinot Noir McMinnville AVA ($16) 89  Pink blush. Introduced by a clean, red cherry nose, this is an attractive, fresh rosé that’s soft on the attack and creamy on the palate. Appealing flavors but not a very lively wine; could use more acidity. 100% estate grown grapes fermented in stainless steel. 13.8% alc. RS 5 g/L


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