Grab a pool float to seal the deal.
Wine is transportive; it has the ability to take you somewhere else and each sip unfolds a story. Suddenly you’re not overheating in your apartment with eight dollars to your name, online shopping with baskets full of shit you can’t afford and mosquito bites covering your sad, sunless legs. No! Close your eyes, tilt back a cool glass and suddenly you are far, far away. You are Grace Kelly driving a convertible. You are Christy Turlington in a flowing maxi dress. You are Kate Hudson Snapchatting from Ibiza. And no wine takes you on more imaginary yacht trips with Rihanna than rosé.
While the daydreams you have with your wine are yours and yours alone, here are some rosé daydreams I’ve had to help inspire your summer drinking.
Cabernet Franc Rosé Tastes Like Gwyneth Paltrow at the Hollywood Bowl
Dry but refreshing, like a perfect summer evening’s breeze, a Cab-Franc rosé is as energetic as patrons piling into the Hollywood Bowl on a Sunday night but as effortless as a fresh-faced Gwyneth wearing a white linen midi-dress that is I-Just-Threw-It-On chic. Airy but confident, Gwyneth is not even afraid of spilling wine on it because she floated down from Heaven on rays of sunshine and angels don’t do things like ruin their Reformation dresses. The wine smells like rose hips and limestone-y dust from healing crystals that broke in her purse on the way home from yoga and a quick cupping ‘sesh, and it tastes like beach hair (spray, from the Goop shop) with freshly chopped cucumber slices and raspberry puree with a side of mom dancing to the Beach Boys.
Recommended: Halycon Cabernet Franc Rosé, $26
Gamay Rosé Tastes like Lizzy Caplan Listening To Vinyl On The Porch
Gamay is light-hearted with an edge and makes me think of Lizzy Caplan on a shaded porch. The Strokes’ “Is This It” is playing in the background as she throws back glasses and tosses around one-liners. Smirky and tart, she’s schooling some dude on Broken Social Scene and he’s falling in love with every exaggerated roll of her eyes and flash of a smile. It smells like raspberry Lemonheads (which are not a thing but should be) and fading Clinique Happy on your wrists, and tastes like chilled cold strawberries dipped in Himalayan sea salt. But what really makes it is its acidity; it’s a tightrope of tension like two people that definitely want to bone each other but can’t admit it because they’re best friends who love fighting about dumb shit on the porch. It’s butterflies and “Hard To Explain” in a glass.
Recommended: Chateau Cambon Rosé, $21
Grenache Rosé Tastes like Padma Cooking Dinner at Home
Grenache Rosé is Padma (Lakshmi, although I personally don’t use her last name even though I don’t personally know her) in a fiery red crepe maxi dress. It is supple and flow-y as she sashays through a white marbled Instagram dream of a kitchen. If there’s anything you’d want to do with Padma — and this wine — it’s eat.
It smells like rhubarb red licorice and tastes like Maraschino cherries draped in velvet. It needs a rack of lamb, and Padma knows it. She puts on some D’Angelo, brushes the lamb lovingly with a rosemary brush dripping with olive oil, totally feeling herself and her feast for one. After dinner, she draws herself a bath, lights fancy candles we’ve never even heard of and listens to more D’Angelo, which is exactly how a glass of this stuff will make you feel inside.
Recommended: Chateau Trinquevedel Tavel Rosé, $19.99
Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé Tastes like Lana Del Rey In The Park
Sparkling Pinot Noir rosé isn’t quite Champagne. It’s grittier, it’s cheaper and it’s delicious. It’s Lana Del Rey sexting in the park; mischievous and irresistible. It’s crunchy like the crisp grass doubling over under her bare legs, tickling like the ache that sneaks up your thighs when you’re trying to get what you want. It smells gravely like dark private roads in the hills and faint citrus in the air, and it tastes like watermelon, orange zest and the neck of a slightly sweaty lover.
Recommended: Val de Mer Brut Nature Rosé, $17.99
Syrah Rosé Tastes like Alexa Chung At a Pool Party
Syrah Rosé is the color of Alexa Chung’s punchy-but-rosy red lips that make her famously cat-eyed peepers pop. The electric strawberry notes of the wine remind me of those Bando heart floats against cyan pool water — both striking and inviting. It smells like strawberry lemonade Bonne Belle chapstick (which is a thing) and tastes like cherries, peaches and a touch of chlorine (in a good way; yes, it’s possible, I swear). The wine drinks young but has a maturity to it, much like Alexa’s style that is as playful as it is often literally buttoned up.
Recommended: Solminer Syrah Rosé, $24
The best news of all? On a good night, you could be all five of them.
Marissa is the Wine Editor at Bon Appétit. Check out her website, Wine. All The Time. and follow her on Instagram @MarissaARoss; collages by Ana Tellez.