Proof that Arizona rosé is becoming a thing: When I started the research for this article I figured you could count our state's pink wines on one hand. I called five stores and discovered a dozen different varieties; some dry, some fruity, some traditional and some in a can.
Our state is hot, and that makes for big, fruity wines as the grapes ripen in the sun. Arizona rosé is not the light and mellow stuff you'd sip in France, and it's not California either. To understand what Arizona rosé really is though, you have to drink it. So I spoke to the folks at Tap & Bottle as well as Allen Rodriguez of Plaza Liquors to find out, just where to start ...
The cheap one: Provisioner Arizona Rose (2015)
Bargain hunters already love their red and the white, but this "pink table wine" is a new addition to the Provisioner lineup. We know it's good, because it's made by Camp Verde winemaker Eric Glomski of Page Springs Cellars and the state's most popular winery Arizona Stronghold. Provisioner Rosé is a blend of 56% French Colombard, 25% Malvasia Bianca, 12% Grenache, 4% Mourvedre and 3% Malbec. The bottle says to expect "aromas of honeydew melon, pink grapefruit, Bing cherries and rose water."
Available at Tap & Bottle ($11) and Plaza Liquors ($11.50), 13.1% ABV
The moderate one: Chateau Tumbleweed Rosé (2014)
Look for the drawing of the red-headed girl with tumbleweeds pulled into pigtails. That's Chateau Tumbleweed, a burgeoning Clarkdale winery run by two husband and wife teams. Despite its Northern Arizona digs, Chateau Tumbleweed sources its grapes from Cochise County: The rosé is a blend of 95% Sangiovese from Fort Bowie Vineyards and 5% Graciano from Cimarron. I included it on this list because it was tested an approved by my editor Irene McKisson, if that's proof enough for ya.
Available at Tap & Bottle ($20.50), 13.3% ABV
The less moderate one: Sand Reckoner Rosé (2014)
This vibrant rosé is the fifth vintage for the Cochise County vineyard Sand Reckoner, which continues to push boundaries by exploring rare varietals. Unlike other blends on this list the wine is 100% Nebbiolo, an exceptionally finicky grape from northwestern Italy. Look for "aromas of red fruits, blood orange and grapefruit. The palate shows a great tension between crisp acidity and minerally structure."
Available at Tap & Bottle ($24), 14.2% ABV
BONUS: Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards Rock Creek Rosé (2014)
Allen at Plaza liked this rosé the best "especially for the money," and said it's one of their most popular sellers. The Cochise County winery Keeling-Schaefer priced this rosé "aggressively" compare to the rest of its selection, but the quality is still there. It's a Provencal-style rose made from 100% Grenache grapes, "clean, dry, crisp" and "full of cherry, watermelon and prickly pear fruit."
Available at Plaza Liquors ($12) and AJ's ($13.99), 12.6% ABV