Have you ever gone into a wine store and walked the aisles aimlessly, trying to figure out what you want but afraid to ask (or not sure what to ask!) I definitely have. It can feel embarrassing to ask for help when you want an inexpensive bottle, and even worse when you don’t know a thing about wine. But your local wine store is the best way to learn! Getting to know the employees and being honest about what you’re looking for – “a dry white around $15” for example, will help you walk out with a bottle you love, and hopefully, a little new knowledge!
Still not convinced? Welcome to Wines Under 20. I’ve done the all asking for you and with the help of my friends at Domaine Franey in East Hampton, have compiled a list of crowd-pleasing, delicious wines that won’t break the bank – and I’ve included my own notes, in real-talk, to help you decide which wine is right for you. Cheers!
As a year-round Hamptons resident, I just had to start with rosé! As rosé has experienced a resurgence in popularity over the last ten years, there has also been an explosion in the number of wine producers who make it, each trying to get their piece of the rosé pie, so to speak. But some of the best rosés are still from the original producers in the South of France, and happily, there are plenty of bottles that come in under twenty bucks! I brought in a panel of recreational experts (Joe and my friends Roxanne and Derek) and together, we did the hard work of tasting, discussing, and reviewing the following five bottles of rosé- just in time for the first official weekend of summer!
1. Isle Saint Pierre Rosé ($11-$12)
We call this one “The Guzzler.” The least expensive of the five bottles, this is a light, mildly fruit-forward rosé from the Camargue region of Provence, with juicy, citrus notes. It goes down easy. Buy a case and keep it on hand for those nights when no one is keeping track of how many bottles, I mean glasses, they’ve had.
2. Château de Porcieux, Côtes de Provence Rosé ($14-15)
We agreed this was the most classic Provençal rosé of the bunch. Light, crisp, and dry, with mineral and grapefruit notes. Tastes like the sea, but also the mountains. This rosé is endlessly refreshing, and one sip transports you from your backyard straight to Provence. For fifteen bucks, that’s a trip you can afford to take!
3. Triennes Rosé ($16)
This one made us think of the Hamptons’ nickname for rosé: “summer water.” It’s the lightest, clearest wine we tasted, and in comparison to some of the other, more fruit-forward rosés, was almost too delicate for some of our panel. I happen to think this is the perfect wine for day-drinking by the pool, on the beach, or even on your couch. It’s simple, light, and refreshing- like water… only better.
4. Wölffer Estate Rosé ($16-$17)
I had to include the Hamptons’ favorite local rosé. As I’ve mentioned on the blog, my good friend Paul Weinstein is the Director of Hospitality at Wölffer -so, call me biased- but I love the rich fruit flavors of their Estate Rosé, with notes of apricot and melon and a deep, peachy hue. While Wölffer makes several rosés, this is their basic “table wine,” and for years it’s been a regular on my dinner table all summer long.
5. Château Peyrassol ($18)
The most expensive of the rosés we tried, this wine lives up to its price tag in terms of complexity and body. While some of the other wines are great for sipping, this one has enough “oomph” to stand up to a dinner of bold summer flavors. Château Peyrassol is one of the oldest producers in Provence (dating back to the 13th century!!) so this is a great choice if you want to impress someone who knows their *stuff.*
Picking favorites is never easy, and we had good things to say about all the wines we tasted. In the spirit of “everyone wins!” – and in the spirit of helping you pick a wine best suited to your occasion- here is our final rundown.
Best wine to accompany food: Château Peyrassol
Best wine to chug: Isle Saint Pierre
Best local pick: Wölffer Estate
Best wine to bring as a gift: Château de Pourcieux
Best wine for day drinking: Triennes
And, after a top-secret vote, we determined that overall favorites were Isle Saint Pierre, for its crowd-pleasing drinkability and incredible price-point and Château de Pourcieux, which we felt was the most beautifully classic and satisfying rosé.
Note: Prices may vary slightly depending on where you live. Vivino.com is a great place to check wine prices and learn about your favorite wines. If I missed one of your favorite bottles, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!!