Drinking Pink

As soon as the temperature climbs above 65 degrees, my internal wine-o-meter changes, too. Does that mean my sipping gravitates from red to white? Well, yes and no.

For me, summer is all about the pinks and corals and wild salmon hues of the wine world, a time for sipping on Rosé.

Not to be confused with pinky jugs of syrupy sweet white zinfandel, Rosé is an interesting mix of both grape worlds. Although made from red grapes and starts off being made like a red, it ferments like a white AND drinks like a white.

rose
Rose ready for back-porch sipping

Here's how the Rosé process works: Red grapes get crushed, and just as with red wine, the juice and skins are kept together - but only temporarily - in order to extract pigments, resulting in those cool colors. The juice and skins are then separated, and the juice is allowed to ferment by its lonesome -- like white wine.

Like white wine, Rosé is best chilled and drunk within two years of bottling. You won't see a 10-year-old Rosé on the shelves of your favorite wine shop, for example. Not until a few years ago, most of the pink stuff you were seeing was coming from the Rosé mother-terroir of southern France.

With the Rosé cat now out of the bag, there's all kinds of pink drink arriving from sunny spots around the globe far from la Belle France.

Some will argue that Rosé is more like the flavor of the month, without much merit on its own, but I say with most bottles less than 15 bucks, what do you have to lose?

By the way, Rosé is great to eat with a fatty rack of ribs. Its clean acidity marries well with anything that cloys the tongue.

Here's a short list of non-Francais Rosé, just for kicks. I've tried nearly all and will note those that are still new for me in notes below. And please, add to this list! What's your favorite pink drink? Or maybe you can't stand the stuff. Share your sips in comments area below.

California
Toad Hollow, Eye of the Toad 2005, (Sonoma County) Rosé of Pinot Noir (about $11). Think strawberries, not too ripe, with lemongrass.

Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare 2005, a blend of 7 varietals, including Grenache blanc and Syrah, (about $12). Think strawberry-lavender ade with a hint of licorice.

Bonny Doon also makes Big House Pink, a less expensive Rosé, made from a blend of Italian grapes. Think watermelon punch. ($10)

Spain
Tres Ojos, Garancha/Tempranillo Blend, 2004 ($6). Think ripe raspberries with a splash of black cherry. Maybe a little lime, too. A serious bargain!

Bodegas, 1+1=3, Rosé of Cabernet, 2005 (About $13). One of the more elegant Rosés I've come across, lighter in color, with honey and guava notes, maybe some grapefruit, too. I love this one.

Argentina
Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec, 2005 (About $12). Lots of ripe berries here, with something else - a mango or a peach, perhaps? Great with fatty cheese, a grilled piece of fish, figs and prosciutto.

South Africa
Having lived in South Africa, I am keen to get my hands on these Rosés from well-known wineries making a name for themselves in this country.
Goats Do Roam, 2006, a blend of five grapes, including Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz ($9.99)
Mulderbosch, Rosé of Cabarnet, 2005 (about $13).

By Kim ODonnel |  June 12, 2006; 10:36 AM ET Wine and Spirits
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Comments

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I have reviewed three five-dollar Rosés recently at my blog, http://quaffability.com, which focuses on wines bought from Trader Joes. Of those, the screw-capped 2004 La Tour du Prevot, Rose, Costieres De Nimes, is a standout value and great fun to drink. More to come later this week.

Posted by: johng | June 12, 2006 12:12 PM

Can you do a blog on flavored lemonade and iced tea? I tried to make homemade ginger infused lemonade and didn't have much luck getting the ginger flavor out. I used a simple syrup and tried to infuse the ginger, but my boyfriend added lemon peel and lemon juice. I am wondering if that is what went wrong.

Also, I loved reading about the Rosemary Iced tea in the Food section on Wednesday. Do you think there is a way to make it that isn't sugary? I don't like sugar in my tea, but I am curious about this flavor.

Please help!

Posted by: Elle | June 12, 2006 2:01 PM

I had a great French Rosé at a friend's barbecue this weekend. It was called "Pink Flamingo", and it was crisp and refreshing with more depth than most Rosé wines I have tasted. The bottle's label has a white background with simple gold writing.

I forgot to ask her where she bought it (probably at a wine shop near Georgetown since she lives in the area).

I found it online here and it's only $10. Tastes like it is worth more.
http://www.winechateau.com/vsku1315730.html

Posted by: in D.C. | June 12, 2006 3:36 PM

There's a good Portuguese Rose that's carbonated called Mateus. Pretty good stuff.

Posted by: William | June 13, 2006 11:35 AM

I want to make some white sangria for a party on the 4th of July -- anyone have any good recipes? Could I do one with a rose? I just went to a tasting of Spanish wines and found some fabulous ones.

Posted by: Providence, RI | June 14, 2006 11:38 AM

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