We taste-tested Olive Garden's exclusive new rosé so you don't have to
Our editors’ verdicts are in—though you might just want to try it yourself.
Olive Garden has just launched its very own rosé, now available on menus across the country.
You read that right: The land of unlimited breadsticks (and soup and salad) is jumping on the rosé train just in time for summer. The restaurant’s new Head to Head Rosé—released on May 29—comes from the Rocca delle Macíe winery in Tuscany, Italy—and Real Simple editors got the opportunity to sample it.
It’s perfectly good. Is it the kind of floral, $75 rosé you’d bring to a garden party to impress your in-laws? Of course not. But is it a refreshing glass of wine to enjoy as you indulge in a tasty meatball bowl or plate of ravioli surrounded by Olive Garden’s rustic décor? You bet your Bolognese it is. And, with prices starting at $6.50 for a glass and $23 for a bottle, it’s certainly a good value.
During our taste-test, editors remarked about the rosé’s smooth taste and rich color. (It’s darker than most rosés we’ve seen.) Made from Sangiovese grapes grown in Sicily, the wine is a delightful coral pink hue, with intense and complex red fruit aromas and apple and cherry notes. For non-oenophiles (like this writer), it tasted a little more flavorful and full than many rosés, and less sweet than a rosé cider (though the color is similar to some). At the end of our tasting, our editors were pleasantly surprised: It did not have the overly sweet, sugary taste some budget-friendly wines have and was completely drinkable.
In terms of pairings, a white or pesto sauce on pasta would be appropriate, as would any meat or seafood dish without red sauce. I’m no wine snob, so I’d honestly feel fine pairing it with a rich, red sauce (and a lot of cheese, probably). So you do you—as long as you enjoy the wine and you enjoy the food, you’re doing it right.