What's the Deal?
You shouldn't need to spend more that $20 to get a good bottle of wine, and that goes double for the Wild West that is rosé, where many producers are cranking it out with whatever spare grapes they can source (mmm, a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec rosé? That sounds wonderful), that they should be passing major savings on to their unsuspecting consumers (spoiler alert - they're not). But good luck in the France section if that's your budget (there are a few good options that I'll explore next week, but they're definitely the exception).
The wonderful irony is that it's in B.C., which used to have a reputation for being pricey, that you'll find the best deals for rosé. Scout's honour. I can't tell you the number of times in the past two years I've had a B.C. rosé that I loved, only to find out it costs significantly less than I expected.
So for fellow my fellow value lovers, I present 3 options that are serious, wonderful wines at an even more wonderful price.
I'm leading with my strong suit here, as I don't know why this wine isn't pricier. Let's start on the technical side. For starters, Meyer Family Vineyards is, simply put, one of the most respected operations in the country. When wine writers get together, I've frequently heard the opinion that vintage in and vintage out, their Chardonnay is the best in B.C. And winemaker Chris Carson, who made this wine, is a genius with Pinot Noir.
And on that note, this wine is 100% Pinot - not some mishmash of grapes hanging around. It's done in the saignée method, which means it's "bled" from their Pinot production, which is as good a pedigree as you can get. In the glass it's even better - it has a wonderfully juiciness and acidity and bounce. The tasting note speaks of raspberries and that's bang on - tart and lively. Also fun fact! There are only 200 cases of this wine as opposed to the 300,000 cases that $38 Whispering Angel sold in the US alone in 2017.
My guess is the low price—and different label—is designed to keep Meyer's Pinots and Chardonnays as a different tier. I could not care less - this wine is a winner on its own.
Again I'm going to lead with the technical bonafides. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc, which is the recipe for the exquisite rosés of the Loire Valley, which have all been forgotten in our current gaga over Provençal wines. If the Meyer is all tart raspberries, this is all ripe strawberry—it's not the flavour profile of a Loire rosé at all, but here it works. The deep colour gives you an idea of what style we're looking at: fuller of body, a bit more sweetness, a bit rounder in the mouth. It's frankly a style that many people prefer, but are afraid to say so—don't be.
Another gem. Here we have 100% Cab Franc again, but this is more in the Loire zone: 12.1 alcohol, pale-pink hue. Orofino is such a wonderful quirky winery (of course it's impossible to find a high-res bottle shot) who make wines that are beloved by the wine community (I've had 20-year-old rieslings from them that positively sing). This wine has a much lighter touch than the Hester Creek — much more rhubarb with maybe a hint of sour cherry. If you do like that pale pink je ne sais quoi - this is for you.
In some ways, this was the prototypical France beater when it came out: juicy, serious and under $20 with lovingly tended grapes coming from Don and Elaine Triggs' prized vineyards. Alas, a search of Culmina website shows that Culmina R+D is no more - although the label does live on in the Arterra portfolio (I haven't tried it, so can't say if it's still as good as it used to be). The silver ling is that Culmina has dropped the price of their very-elegant Saignée by $5 to $24. That doesn't get them on this list, but it's a very solid deal.