The rosé wines of the East Coast have improved dramatically in recent years. Not long ago, rosé wines from the East Coast were likely to be sweet and made from native grape varieties. Today, they are made from vitis vinifera and French American hybrids and similar in style to the dry rosés of Provence and the Loire. Since Cabernet Franc is the go to red variety in the East, many rosés are also made from this variety. But other varieties are also used: Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Pinot Noir and even Sangiovese and Tannat. We review East Coast rosés, mostly from the 2018 vintage, below. Readers interested in some of the outstanding sparkling rosés of the East Coast should consult our earlier article on New Sparkling Rosés.
Of course, as the label here shows rosés are not new to the East. Philip Wagner made this 1941 rosé as a home winemaker before establishing his Boordy Winery, Maryland’s first, in 1945. Today, winemaker Rob Deford owns Boordy and crafts a rosé that would make Phil Wagner proud. Read our article on Boordy Vineyards here.
This review of East Coast rosés is one of a series of articles on the rosé wines in the 2019 marketplace. Other recent articles on rosé include :
- 2018 Rosés from Spain and Portugal
- Rosés of Pinot Noir from Around the World
- Tavel: The Rosé of Kings
- Rosé and Food: Enlivening the Meal
- New Sparkling Rosés from North America, Europe, and South Africa
Our readers will know that we’ve been writing and publishing a series of report on the wines of the East Coast. Reports on the Finger Lakes, Maryland, and New Jersey have already been published, and reports on Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina will be published before the end of the summer. This larger effort to study and report on the wines of the East has helped us identify the best rosés of the region, too. The top rosés tasted for this article are listed in the table below.
Top East Coast Rosés*
|Boordy Vineyards 2018 Rosé||Maryland||91|
|Fox Run 2018 Dry Rosé||Finger Lakes NY||91|
|White Horse Winery 2017 Rosé||Outer Coastal Plain NJ||91|
|Lamoreaux Landing 2018 Dry Rosé||Finger Lakes NY||90+|
|Atwater 2018 Dry Rosé of Blaufränkisch||Finger Lakes NY||90|
|Catoctin Breeze 2018 Romance Rosé||Maryland||90|
|Karamoor Estate 2018 Rosé
Mount Nittany 2018 Linden Vale Rosé
|Montgomery County PA
|Sheldrake Point 2018 Dry Rosé||Finger Lakes NY||90|
|Stinson 2018 Rosé of Tannat||Monticello VA||90|
|Three Brothers 2018 Stony Lonesome Cabernet Franc Rosé||Finger Lakes NY||90|
*Wines scoring 90 points or higher.
Atwater 2018 Dry Rosé of Blaufränkisch Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes ($18) 90 Medium dark pink. This is an excellent example of Blaufränkisch rosé. It’s fresh and full bodied with good flavor density and a perfumed nose of rose petals, cherry, and nectarine. The finish long and pure. Made from estate fruit given 4 hours skin contact and fermented in stainless steel. Atwater 2017 Dry Rosé of Cabernet Franc Seneca Lake, FingerLakes ($15) 89 Light copper salmon. Lightly aromatic with hints of orchard fruit, this rosé opens up on the attack with light cherry fruit and bright acidity. The palate is balanced with a medium long finish. A blend of 78% Cabernet Franc and 22% Pinot Noir fermented in stainless steel. RS 8 g/L, Alc 12.6%.
Barnstormer Winery 2017 Sangiovese Rosé Finger Lakes ($19) 88 Pale pink blush. Sangiovese isn’t a common varietal in the Finger Lakes, so this rosé calls attention to itself. It has a very light scent of red berries and an herbal palate complemented by red berries again. Crisp and fresh, it could use a bit more intensity of flavor. Sourced from Sawmill Creek Vineyard on the east side of Seneca Lake. RS 6 g/L Alc 11.5%
Beneduce Vineyards 2017 Row’s End Dry Rosé Hunterdon County ($19) 89 Perfumed, summer strawberry fruit shows on an exuberant nose and dry palate, persisting on a long finish with mineral notes. Well done and well priced, too. Estate grown Blaufränkisch; 600 cs produced.
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. It’s 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.
Boordy Vineyards 2018 Rosé Maryland ($17) 91 Copper orange. Complex bouquet of blood orange, berries, and savory herbs that are mirrored on a full-flavored, mineral-tinged palate. Lingers in the mouth showing rich extract and a refreshing finish. A direct pressed blend of Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Long Green Vineyard and Merlot from the South Mountain Vineyard. Alc 11.7
Buttonwood Grove 2018 Rosé Finger Lakes ($16) 89 Medium pink. An interesting, nicely balanced wine revealing dried cherry and the slightest hint of orange peel aromas. It has good acidity and a savory palate of cherry skin and dried herbs and finishes very dry, too. 100% direct press Cabernet Franc given 20 hours skin contact before fermentation. RS 3.6 g/L. The winemaker is Susan Passmore.
Catoctin Breeze 2018 Romance Rosé Maryland ($24) 90 Named after Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, this dark rose colored wine offers sweet aromas of strawberry and raspberry preserves. The palate is soft, lush and inviting with good balancing acidity. Finishes with lingering ripe red berry and just a hint of springtime rhubarb. Direct press of 50% Syrah and 50% Chambourcin made by winemaker Mike Lentini.
Chaddsford 2018 Dry Rosé Pennsylvania 88 Pretty medium pink. Spicy nose showing raspberry and red apple peel. Dry on the attack with cranberry and apple flavors that mirror the bouquet. There’s vibrant acidity and a lingering finish. A blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 28% Pinot Noir.
Chateau Bu-De 2018 Bohemia Manor Farm Augustine Herman Estate Rosé Maryland ($22) 89 Medium pink. This Bordeaux style rosé is a blend of 64% Cabernet Franc and 36% Cabernet Sauvignon. Offering floral scents of dried cherry and berry on the nose, it’s a medium weight rosé that’s full in the mouth with plum, dried berry and light savory notes. 140 cs
CrossKeys Vineyards 2017 Fiore Rosé Shenandoah Valley ($20) 89 This 70/30 Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin blend offers bright red berry fruit and refreshing acidity on a slightly off dry palate. Winemaker Stephan Heyns won Best of Class in the 2018 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition with this wine.
Fox Hollow Vineyards 2017 Pink Flamingo Rosé Wine New Jersey ($22) 87 Pretty copper/pink coral color. This is an off dry rosé showing candied cinnamon and Jolly Rancher aromas and flavors. At 14.2% alc, we really couldn’t recommend it for sipping by the pool, but it would probably pair well with spicy Mexican food.
Fox Run 2018 Dry Rosé Finger Lakes 91 Light reddish pink. This very attractive blend of Pinot Noir and Blaufränkisch grapes offers aromas and flavors of cherry and pomegranate. It has crisp texture and a long, lingering finish.
Glen Manor 2017 Morales Rosé Virginia ($21) 88 The Morales Rosé is a pleasant tasting, light bodied wine that’s a bit reticent aromatically. We recommend serving well chilled. A blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, both saignée and direct press, fermented in barrel and aged in neutral oak.
Karamoor Estate 2018 Rosé Montgomery County PA ($24) 90 Light copper orange. Revealing scents of red delicious apple with hints of red berries and herbs, this Bordeaux blend offers a savory palate with flavors that mirror its bouquet. A blend of roughly equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it’s fresh, balanced, and offers good density of flavor. Have with grilled chicken or pork loin. Well done!
Lamoreaux Landing 2018 Dry Rosé Finger Lakes Seneca Lake ($17) 90+ Pale platinum blush. Showing a floral nose of rose petals and cherry, this is a mouthfilling wine that’s subtly flavored but elegant in texture with a bit riper fruit than many Finger Lakes rosés from this vintage. 100% Cabernet Franc from estate vineyards.
Mazza Vineyards 2018 Bare Bones Rosé Lake Erie ($11) 89 Medium pink. Spicy nose showing hints of strawberry and cherry pie. Refreshing on the palate with good fresh fruit flavor and just a touch of sweetness. Good sugar-acid tension and balance in a very pleasant, easy sipping rosé. 100% Chambourcin 12% alc.
Mount Nittany 2018 Linden Vale Rosé Pennsylvania ($16) 90 Medium reddish pink. The Linden Vale Rosé starts with fresh aromas of berries and citrus. It’s a well made wine with attractive fresh flavors of blood orange, pomegranate, and a hint of rhubarb. Finishes with good viscosity and length. A direct press (using a gentle Champagne press) blend of Cabernet Franc (60%) and Syrah (40%) and aged on the lees for 2 months. RS 10 g/L.
Pinnacle Ridge 2017 Dry Rosé Lehigh Valley ($13) 87 A blend of 90% Chambourcin and 10% Cabernet Franc, the Chambourcin is direct pressed, like a white wine, but its highly colored skins give lots of color quickly. The wine offers a red berry nose complemented by a hint of cherry vanilla on the palate. 9 g/L RS
Presque Isle NV Rosé Sec Lake Erie 88 Medium garnet rose. Berry preserves and an earthy note on the nose. Dry on the attack with red berry fruit and green herbal hints on the palate. This is a bone dry rosé with a complex savory side that suggests pairing with chicken or pork.
Rosemont 2018 Rose Virginia ($19) 89 Medium pink salmon showing attractive aromas of red berries and cherries. The wine is bright and fresh on the attack with a vivacious palate. Finishes dry with good length and a hint of tartness. .
Sheldrake Point 2018 Dry Rosé Finger Lakes ($18) 90 Very pale blush. Lovely bouquet of strawberry, peach and orange zest. This is a mouthfilling wine albeit delicately flavored with fresh peach and berry notes. Excellent balance and nice clean lingering finish. 100% Cabernet Franc grown on Sheldrake’s vineyard on the western shore of Cayuga Lake. RS 6 g/L Alc 11.9%
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%.
Stinson 2018 Rosé of Tannat Monticello ($21) 90 Light copper-tinged pink. Shows a fruit forward nose of watermelon, rose petals, and candied fruit. Excellent balance revealing vibrant acidity and freshness with crisp, red berry flavors. All estate fruit. Great low alcohol of just 12.3%.
The Vineyard at Hershey NV Rosé Pennsylvania 89 Showing a nose of sweet, ripe strawberries on the vine, this is a vibrant wine from its smtarbright medium dark pink hue to a persistent, flavorful finish. It has an especially creamy, soft mouthfeel that makes it oh so easy to drink. Finishes with a touch of sweetness.
Three Brothers 2018 Stony Lonesome Cabernet Franc Rosé Finger Lakes 90 Light salmon color. This single vineyard rosé from the difficult 2018 vintage is successful. It offers a perfumed herbal bouquet with fruity accents. It’s full in the mouth, again with a melange of herbs and fruit. Good acidity and nice lingering finish. 100% Cabernet Franc from the Miles Vineyard on the western side of Seneca Lake. RS 6 g/L Alc 12%.
Wagner Vineyards 2018 Dry Rosé of Cabernet Franc Finger Lakes ($15) 88 Pale salmon. Vibrant stony nose with a watermelon accent. Refreshing and easy to drink with a crisp, fresh palate that’s more herbal than fruity. Finishes clean. Sourced from the vineyard planted next to the winery in 1993.
White Horse Winery 2017 Rosé Outer Coastal Plain ($18) 91 Revealing a bright, exuberant fresh red berry nose, this wine offers a fruity, dry palate with lingering fruit flavors enhanced by bright acidity. A blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from estate vineyards and Sunny Slope Farms.