For the Fourth: Rosé All Day
Summer is heating up and nothing quenches the wine thirst like a good rosé. It's basically a red wine (okay, pink from the limited contact with the grape skins) that acts like a white wine. It can display the flavor character of a red wine while it's chilled down like a white wine. It's versatile at the table as well: there are the lighter, delicate styles to the more muscular versions and terrific bubbly as well. Here are some that came across my desk recently that will be unpretentious and fun to slurp on the Fourth. But my best advice is to visit your local tasting room or wine merchant: I guarantee they will have some stellar rosé suggestions for you.
*Rosé All Day, Pays d'Oc, France 2017 ($13): It was inevitable that some wise acre would give their rose' this monicker. But it comes by its name honestly, being grenache blanc from the south of France. Very pale in color, it proves to be a lighter style with red berry and citrus flavors that have staying power. Indeed it's so easy to quaff that you could actually drink this rose' all day.
*Lucas & Lewellen Rosé of Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County 2017 ($18): On the lighter side of pink as well, this has more distinct aromas of raspberry, strawberry and citrus. Well rounded in the mouth, red berry flavors come through as well while a crisp and citrusy finish invites another sip.
*Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Reserve Rosé, Cotes du Rhone, France 2017 ($14): From the southern Rhone Valley, the blend is comprised of grenache, cinsault and syrah. Though also light in color, it's fuller bodied than the hue might suggest. Fruit forward aromas and flavors of red berry fruit and minerals are fresh and concentrated and the finish is upbeat. My go to wine from this region is the classic E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose' ($15), always delicious and thirst quenching.
*Bonterra Rosé, Mendocino County 2017 ($16): Sourced from organically grown grapes, this grenache based rose' is very pale salmon in color with citrus, watermelon and rose petal on the nose. Plenty of strawberry, watermelon and pomegranate come in refreshing waves on the palate. The fruit is so bright and sunny, it's going to need sunglasses. Though it seems a little on the sweet side (the residual sugar number is actually quite low), the fine cut of acidity holds it all together in perfect balance.
*BY.OTT Rosé, Cotes de Provence, France 2017 ($25): Domaine Ott in Provence has been making rose' since 1912 so they're not just now jumping on the rose' bandwagon. But their flagship rose' usually came in around $50 a bottle. So the Ott family decided to make a more affordable version sourced from their vineyards as well as purchased grapes. Grenache based, it has aromas of red grapefruit and apricot with substantial flavors of red berry fruit, grapefruit, minerals and salinity. Piquant and spicy on the finish, it has the intensity and structure to stand up to grilled and charred dishes. Totally worth it.
*Casillero del Diablo Reserva Rosé, Chile 2017 ($10): In contrast, if you're having a lot of folks over, here's a budget rose' that won't break the bank but will still get the job done. It's all red cherry and red raspberry on the nose with plenty of citrus. A combo of syrah, cinsault and carmenere, it's vibrant and refreshing with plenty of cherry, blackberry and plum flavor that is tangy and spicy as well as thirst quenching. Very fruit forward and crowd pleasing, the finish is dry and satisfying.
*Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Rosé Champagne, France ($60): What would any celebration be without bubbly? There are a lot of pink sparklers but this one is classic, primarily composed of pinot noir, thus the darker color and the more aggressive mouth feel and flavors. It does not stint on aromatics: raspberry, cherry, pomegranate and florals. In the mouth, flavors of strawberry, raspberry and black cherry with hints of ginger and orange zest. It's very attractive to drink, even for the novice wine/champagne drinker. And it can stand up well to charred and grilled foods.
Wine expert Dennis Schaefer's column appears every other week in the Food section. E-mail: foodnewspress.com.