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Food & Drink

Wine, etc.: Beat the heat with versatile rosé | COMMENTARY

The current fascination by American wine consumers with summer rosé continues unabated. Virtually every wine producing country churns out oceans of rosé from an array of grape varieties.

Most rosé is crafted from a limited amount of contact to red grape skins. Some rosé is the result of the saignee process whereby the winemaker bleeds off some of the grape must from fermenting red wine to add concentration. Either way the result is usually a refreshing wine with brisk acidity and a color that can range from orange to salmon. The wine takes to an ice bucket with ease and can offset summer temperatures. Its versatility also makes it a good match with simple summer fare such as fish, salad and grilled chicken.

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Because rosé is best consumed in its vibrant youth, consumers should ensure their purchases are from the 2020 and 2021 vintages.

Although grenache, syrah and mourvedre characterize the popular rosés from Provence, other regions have adopted indigenous grape varieties.

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Here are some recommendations to ease the pain of summer heat:

France

“M” de Minuty Rosé 2021 ($27). Chateau Minuty produces several rosés in the Cotes de Provence. They range in style and expression, but this one is easy to find. A blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah and tibouren, it exudes sunshine. Bright citrus and red fruit flavors. We also like the 2021 Prestige Rosé ($35), which has a broader array of fruit flavors.

Whispering Angel Cotes de Provence 2021 ($25). This iconic rosé from Caves d’Esclans continues to impress, vintage after vintage. It has good structure with brisk acidity and flavors of watermelon and pomegranate. Relatively easy to find, it remains one of our favorite rosés.

Chateau des Ferrages Roumery Cotes de Provence Rosé 2020 ($20). A blend of cinsault, grenache, syrah and vermentino, this crisp wine has strawberry, peach and grapefruit notes. What is not to like?

M Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rosé 2021 ($15). Raspberry and citrus flavors dominate this delicious wine from the Rhone Valley.

Domaine de CALA Rosé Classic 2021 ($18). This assortment of grape varieties leans on cinsault with help from grenache noir, syrah and rolle. Fresh and live red fruit and citrus character with good acidity.

Chateau Bonnet Rosé 2020 ($18). An unusual blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and semillon, this Bordeaux rosé has stone fruit and grapefruit notes with a dash of citrus.

Spain

Bodegas Borsao Rosé 2020 ($10). Borsao does it again with a great value from Spain’s Campo de Borja region. All garnacha, this wine has simple red fruit character and a hint of tangerine with refreshing acidity.

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United States

Josh Cellars Rosé ($15). From a popular and ubiquitous producer, this fruity rosé is light and filled with strawberry and peach flavors. Good acidity while lush on the palate.

Decoy California Rosé 2020 ($20). This is an interesting blend of syrah, vermentino, carignan, mourvedre and grenache. Generous aromas of strawberries with juicy peach, citrus and melon flavors. Delicious.

Bonterra Rosé 2021 ($16). This California producer is a pioneer in organic farming and proves that good wine can be made in environmentally conscious conditions. This grenache rosé, made mostly from organic sites in Mendocino, has bright acidity and abundant notes of grapefruit, watermelon, cherries and a bit of peach.

Bouchaine Vin Gris of Pinot Noir 2021 ($29). We loved the aromatics of this delightful wine: strawberries and watermelon scents are chased by fresh stone fruit and melon flavors.

H3 Horse Heaven Hills Rosé 2020 ($17). This Washington state rosé pulls a lot of Rhone-based grape varieties into its blend: syrah, cabernet, grenache, mourvedre, cinsault and counoise. Raspberry and peach dominate the palate.

Benziger Family Winery North Coast Rosé 2021 ($26). Sourcing grapes from North Coast AVA vineyards, winemaker Chris Benziger has created a certified sustainable wine with citrus and strawberry notes. EFFORT Grenache Rosé 2021 ($28). The grapes are fermented entirely in concrete egg-shaped containers to preserve the fresh, savory flavors of this tasty treat. It has the body to go with a lot of food choices.

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Italy

Pasqua 11 Minutes Odi et Amo Rosé Veneto IGT 2020 ($20). Mostly corvina with trebbiano, syrah and carmenere. “11″ refers to the total amount of minutes that the grape skins stay in contact with the grape must after pressing. Herbal, grapefruit notes dominate with a hint of cherry and mild acidity.

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Travaglianti Etna DOC Rosato 2020 ($30) is a pure delight. Made from one of our favorite Sicilian red grapes, nerello mascalese, this rosé presents ripe peach and cherry notes in a bold style. Great for pretty much any summer barbecue fare.

Portugal

Monte Velho Rosé Alentejano 2021 ($10-12). This bargain-priced rosé is crafted from the grapes touriga nacional, aragonez and a touch of syrah as well as several others. Pinkish orange in color, we noted peach, berry and melon creating a simple and pleasant tasting experience.

Herdade do Esporao Monte Velho 2021 ($7). We loved the abundant raspberry fruit in this simple, light wine from the Alentejo region. The blend consists of touriga nacional, aragonez, syrah, trincadeir and tinta caiada.

Australia

Yellowtail Rosé Southeastern Australia N/V ($6-8). If you are looking for a slightly sweeter version of rosé, this bargain rosé is for you. Pretty simple fresh fruit notes; try it on a hot summer day.

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Wine picks

Migration Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2019 ($42). Entirely barrel fermented and aged in 35 percent new French oak, this wine has a more oaky, extracted character. The fermentation gives it a rich, creamy texture added to apple and peach notes. Vanilla and spice flavors are from the barrels.

Chalk Hill Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2020 ($45). Chalk Hill is celebrating 50 years of winemaking and this wine shows why it is a label that has withstood the trials of change. It produces eight different chardonnays, several of which are from single vineyards. This flagship version from nine clones shows off pear and apple flavors with plenty of spice and oak-inspired vanilla. It has a creamy texture.

Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr have been writing a weekly, syndicated wine column since 1985. See their blog at moreaboutwine.com. They can be reached at marq1948@gmail.com.


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