The Easiest Way to Pick Out a Good, Cheap Bottle of Rosé, According to a Wine Expert

updated Aug 17, 2021
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Credit: Diana Liang

Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a bottle of rosé because you liked the bottle shape or the design of the label? No shame, because I’m willing to bet that we all have our hands up. You may have also made some choices based on the sheer pink-ness of the rosé. Too deep and you might worry the wine will be too sweet; too pale and might not be sweet enough!

Sure, labels have all sorts of helpful information — like vintage, country, more specific region, etc. — but at the end of the day, not all of us know what to really look for, so graphic design wins out. Or does it?

Jeffrey Schiller, the author of Wine Hack, had a great tip to share with us: Look for a rosé with an alcohol content of 13 percent or less.

Credit: Lisa Freedman

“Keeping it at 13 percent or under replicates a Provençal rosé,” he says. “We all love Provence rosés (ones from southeastern France) because they are light-bodied, elegant, and bright (which is code for good acid). And fortunately, all of these things can be replicated in the cooler climate regions of the world, like Sonoma, Carneros, and Long Island. Oregon has been slow to the game but all that Pinot will eventually make excellent rosé.” Get a rosé that’s clunky and less bright, and chances are, it’s going to have an alcohol content that’s higher than 13 percent.

Sure enough, I checked the bottles in my kitchen and the ones that I like best (looking at you, $8 bottle of Aldi rosé!) were all 13 percent or lower.

Follow this rule and, not only will you almost certainly like the wine, but you’ll also find it makes for a good day-drinking wine because you can sip it by the pool and still be awake for dinner.

Do you have a favorite rosé? Tell us about it in the comments below.