By Rick Riozza

One would have to be playing the part of an ostrich with its head in the sand to miss the current parade of pink wines coming in and out of our markets and wine stores.  Indeed, we’re knee deep in an eruption of rosés—and loving it!

Maybe four decades ago, the world was awash with “white Zinfandel”—a one-note wine which was primarily on the sweet side.  Heh!—and just as economically-sweet! Its sales brought beaucoup bucks into Napa/Sonoma wine country, revitalizing the trade and escalating the area to global fame.

Prior to that, we wine elders were fairly happy with the Portuguese Mateus and Lancers’ Rosé—with their iconic “squat” & “tower” wine bottling; they were easy-going simple quaffs.  By the way, those two rosés are back in the stores with just a little modernizing nip n’ tuck in their bottle design.

Interestingly, as a wine steward, I still find a remnant of the white zin folk who come in for their weekly supply, that, 1) are not aware that Zinfandel is really a “red” grape that produces very bold and full body wine; 2) not aware that a “white Zin” is in fact a rosé wine and will go-on to argue otherwise; and, 3) believe most “rosé wines”, none-the-less, are mostly sweet. Fun stuff!

As we continue to say, Ma’am—there’s a brave new wine world out there! Today, consumers the world over have finally caught on to the dry—non-sweet—pink, copper or salmon tinged wine that’s ready to quaff at an instant any time, and, the consumption of premium dry rosé is growing exponentially.  Led by the wines of Provence and followed by every winery in the universe, last year, more than 1,000 different rosés were reviewed by us wine columnists and so many more bottles are taking up our office space for tasting this year—though hardly a problem!

We’ve written often on how dry rosé wines, either still or sparkling, are the vino voucher for any occasion, any meal, and especially to succor us desert dwellers to endure the full day sun and sustain the sultry nights.  Rosé’s quality continues on the rise, and this fresh, fruity but dry wine is the perfect quaff for our evanescent spring and the increasing summertime season throughout the world.

Natives of the Mediterranean basin have worshipped the restorative powers of rosé for decades. They always contend that the best way to refresh is a glass of something that transforms the light and warmth of the sun into a delicious chilled elixir that soothes body and soul.

And now the rosé world has exploded making the pick of the pinks available from every wine producing country and made from every red grape variety imaginable.  There is true vino diversity: Provençal’s pale bone-dry, citrus-laced wine made from Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah; Bordeaux’s strawberry-strewn Merlots; California Coast Pinot Noir with its bright acidity and soft, subtle aromas of crabapple, watermelon, raspberries, strawberries, and wet stone.

Look for Rioja, Malbec and even a Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese blend rosé from Italy called Piano Piano (softly, softly) parading around in pink—a very tasty, tangy and refreshing blush for only around $10.

No doubt, we’ll be doing our share of rosé articles this spring season and as the long hot summer stretches before us here in the desert, and we look to rousing the rosé sirens that refresh with sexy and tasty light fruit flavors, both still and sparklers.

As some interesting “dry rosé” recommendations, consider these comments:

2016 SAVED “Magic Maker” Rosé, ($16): This crisp California wine, returning again this year, is from both celebrity tattoo artist Scott Campbell—with his unique bottle design, and legendary winemaker Clay Brock (Wild Horse Vineyards).  This time there’s tangerine and strawberry aromas that continue into the flavors along with their usual peach notes.  Absolutely refreshing! Made in a Provençal-style with the winemakers stating, “it’s a refresher that’s perfect for everyone, including guys (who aren’t afraid to drink pink anymore).”

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2016 ($13)

South African wines are the latest rage in the wine world (they’ve only been producing wine for over 400 years!).  Look for the portfolio of reds, whites, sparklers and rosés to make their way big time in our local markets.  They show great vibrancy and clean fruit flavors.  I’ve got some great dry sparklers from this region to write about soon.

Made using 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, this Cab Sauv rosé is made in a richer, more flavorful style than its more delicate counterparts from Provence. Laced with notes of sweet watermelon, florals and refreshing mineral notes, this balanced wine is the rosé for Cab lovers!  Rich enough to pair with heartier red meat dishes, while still significantly crisp to suit lighter fare.

M de Minuty Rosé 2016 ($19) bottled in the traditional curvy Provencal bottle, is a Vibrant, dry rosé with balanced white peach and candied orange peel aromas that meld into the palate with a smooth, round mouthfeel.  Pale in color, it’s very aromatic—but of course very dry, marked by a racy acidity and beautiful freshness.

Founded in the 19th century, Minuty is the last estate in the Cotes de Provence to harvest their grapes entirely by hand. All of Minuty’s rosés are grown utilizing sustainable practices, free of chemicals, relying on the heat of August and episodic rain to ripen the grapes and obtain the best purity of fruit.  Fitting for a proper luncheon or summer dinner party, this rosé is one of the more elegant ones out there.  Here’s to pretty in pinkCheers!

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