When we last surveyed the landscape of Teutonic rosé, in 2016, pink wine was still holding strong as the seemingly invincible Drink of Summer. But by this point, the media had turned from trying to convince the masses that rosé was delicious to lamenting how the trend toward it had left us wading, awkwardly, through a sea of pastel plonk. That’s what made the growing number of bottles from Germany and Austria hitting shelves such a welcome surprise. As Punch contributor Jon Bonné asked back then: “What if there was a place where rosé was still being taken very seriously, made by some of the world’s most skilled winemakers and produced from grapes grown with the utmost care?”
That place remains Germany and Austria. Of the 25 wines we tasted, it was impossible to just choose five; instead we chose five from each country. And even so, the panel—which consisted of Punch’s editorial staff, alongside Punch contributor and Pinch Chinese wine director Miguel de Leon—only a single bottle out of the 25 was roundly dismissed.
There are myriad reasons, both practical and purely gustatory, that these wines are so irresistible. De Leon summed it up perfectly, describing them as satisfying each point on a star: high, well-defined acid; pretty, juicy fruit; salinity; a bonus spritzy, frothy character not dissimilar from that of txakoli; and, finally, an additional X-factor, something in the wine that boosts its mineral character and creates a “meet cute in the mouth.” These are, in short, wines with a very high refreshment factor, even those from Austria—like Jurtschitsch’s Belle Naturelle, Umathum’s Rosa and Arndorfer’s Rosa Marie—that opt for a deeper, darker, more concentrated take on the style. But there are two other very important factors that have led us to declare these two countries the world’s best practitioners of rosé: Both Germany and Austria are increasingly progressive when it comes to organic and biodynamic farming, and every wine on the list below is, at the very least, farmed organically. Also, not a single wine on this list crests above $25, making these as accessible as they are delicious.
And, finally, the timely reason to check back in on Teutons. The 2021 vintage was especially kind to Germany and Austria, yielding some of the best, and most cellarable (yes, age these!) versions of these rosés. So, without further ado, here are the 10 bottles that topped our tasting.