By Rick Riozza

One may laugh and run away like a child at play—but in our valley’s summer season shortly upon us, you’ll be running into a crisp and refreshing bottle of rosé soon enough!  And thank goodness, for so many of pale salmon copper colored wines are lovingly dry while showing lively fruit notes.

And of course—everything’s coming up rosés—again!  Last year we wrote about the new “American palate” that is now appreciating the Provençal-style dry or non-sweet blush wine; this type of rosé is quite often the answer to wine-pairing woes: if you can’t decide between a white or a red for lunch, appetizers, or dinner—or, for that up-coming dinner party, well then the new drier-style rosé is the choice whether you’re serving soup, salad, fish, poultry or meat.

Led by the wines of Provence and followed by every winery in the universe, the American rosé “re-birth” with vino lovers is on with more than more than 1,000 new and different rosés on the market. 

Indeed! Here is a scattering of some delicious rosé we’re currently chilling & savoring:

Chateau Minuty M de Minuty 2017 ($21) bottled in the traditional curvy Provençal bottle and fully decorated in chic design, this wine is the epitome of the classic Provence wines produced in the south of France.  Any new wine lover who’s yet to taste a still rosé from this Mediterranean area will be brought up to speed enjoying this baby.

It’s a vibrant but dry rosé with balanced white peach and candied orange peel aromas that meld into the palate with a smooth, round mouthfeel. For you musicians who are familiar with triplet beats or rhythms, this wine plays out a similar sensory pattern of light strawberry, raspberry, and red currant flavors.   Pale in color, very aromatic and marked by good acidity and a nice freshness.

One of the original rosés from St. Tropez, it pairs perfectly with raw vegetables, grilled meat, shellfish, peach pie, and “the dreams of summer”. The last winery in Provence to pick all of their grapes by hand, M de Minuty is made in the traditional method for the purest expression of Grenache—the king (or queen) of rosé.

Award-winning “rebel/rock-star” winemaker Charles Smith has introduced yet another high-quality, eye-catching wine to the market: the 2017 Band of Roses Rosé ($13). This Washington State release is made from 100 percent Pinot Gris! Yep!—that’s why they call Smith a “rebel”. 

Okay—so many vino lovers already know that pinot grigio and pinot gris are of the same grape variety: one’s simply written in Italian, the other in French.  Of course there’s more info:  it gets geographic.  Those wishing to sound and “feel” French, will utilize the pinot gris spelling—as with the wines from Oregon (after all, they do call their pinot noirs’ “Burgundian” in nature).  However in Washington State, they’re spelling it pinot grigio.

Anyway—but for those who know their familiar Pinot Grigio to be a white wine—well realize that normally, this grape has a grayish/brownish pink skin (hence the name gris, or gray, in French).  Leave the grape skins in the mix for a bit and your white wine will quickly reflect some sort of pinkish/copper hue.

This Band of Roses is pale pink in color but plush in texture; this crisp wine features fresh flavors delivered of lilac, guava, tangerine, passion fruit and cut hay.  This is new world pinot gris.  Another fun & fine wine with Smith’s usual artsy edgy label created with longtime friend, Danish designer extraordinaire Rikke Korff (who Smith met while touring in Europe).  The PR states: “this new wine looks just as great as it tastes.”

And how about this news:  We’re all familiar with Traders Joe’s brand Charles Shaw, that originally sold for around two dollars, thus the name—Two Buck Chuck.  The prices have gradually risen to only three or so bucks, but it’s original nickname stays.  The real news is their new “organic grapes” line of wine—currently sells for $3.99.  I asked the store clerk if the organic line-up will be known as Four Buck Chuck?  He winced and casually corrected me with his terminology stating, “How about Thee Charles Shaw”.

All right then! The news keeps going: The five wines in the new Organic Grapes line-up, actually simply called “Shaw”, are Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Rosé.  We’ve just sampled them all and the Shaw Organic Grapes Rosé is the rousing winner as to quality for the price.  At $3.99 a bottle, there is no better California dry rosé on the market.

This is the bottle of wine to grab and chill for the quick picnic.  And should you run short of sheckles for your luncheon or al fresco dinner plans, or unable to pick-up the higher priced spreads we wrote of above—well then again, this Shaw Rosé will not disappoint.  (I’ve heard Target Stores offers a $5 California Roots Rosé—haven’t tried it.)

The 2017 Shaw Rosé is dry and it owns some soft strawberry, cherry, raspberry flavors that keeps everyone sipping.  And it’s ahead of the game with a no-corkscrew-needed twist-off, resealable cork:  Known as the Helix cork: “it features a series of grooves that fit effortlessly with threads inside the neck of the Helix glass bottle, enabling the user to remove the cork effortlessly, simply by holding and twisting the top. After opening, the stopper can also be re-inserted into the bottle in the same way, so that a bottle of white wine, for example, can be re-sealed and stored in the fridge for later use.”

The 2018 French Open is afoot!  Let’s do Parisian wine next time—à votre santé!