As rosé choices have swelled each summer, every conceivable shade of fuchsia, salmon and coral seems to stare back from the shelf. The front of the pack, though, tends to be dominated by two bottles, like commanders of a blushing battalion.
One of them, Whispering Angel Rosé, is a wine I’d somehow avoided, put off by its name. That is, until last week. It’s time, I thought, to see what this is about. At the checkout counter, the clerk rattled off the price almost mechanically — he clearly moved a lot of it — and then the woman behind me on line said, “Oh, I love that wine.”
I turned around, genuinely curious. “What do you love about it?” I asked. Twenty-two dollars is no small beans for a bottle of rosé.
“It’s just so . . . crisp.”
At home, I chilled the bottle and uncorked it. The wine, made from about five types of grapes grown and harvested in Provence, was perfectly competent: Crisp, a bit tart, with a sort of lime-strawberry thing going on. It reminded me, though, of the other wine you see almost everywhere here, but one made much closer to home (the South Fork) and framed in a bold bottle decked out with butterflies, grapes and a sea horse: Wölffer Estate’s Summer in a Bottle.
At Wölffer, in Sagaponack, rosé (and rosé cider) seem to have become a sort of organizing principle. For Summer in a Bottle, winemaker Roman Roth uses six kinds of grapes (merlot, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and riesling, in that order) for a rosé that’s a pale coral hue. The profile is pretty similar to Whispering Angel — a delicate, dry Provençal-style rosé — but racier, with lime again but also hints of cranberry and melons tumbled together in salt-tinged harmony.
Wölffer’s production is much smaller than Whispering Angel’s — thousands of bottles, versus millions — so it usually sells out before summer ends. If you’re going to drop more than $20 on rosé with a cute name, though, Summer in a Bottle should win the battle.
Wölffer Estate Summer in a Bottle 2017, around $25 at most local wine stores.