Tasting Wine: A few words about rosé

It seems like rosé is not only acceptable but also actually quite popular. Even my father, who up until a couple of years ago refused to drink anything that was not red, has been converted. I used to say that for those who plan their wine selection by temperature, rosé weather in San Francisco was usually in September. But this year it has come early, so I’m going to use global warming as an excuse to write, yet again, about rosé.

The number of good rosés has skyrocketed. Provence no longer has a quality monopoly on pink wine. These days, good rosés are made in New World and Old World wine regions and both hemispheres.

The key to good rosé is having enough acidity. It should be crisp, even if there is residual sugar, and acidity is a key part of that equation. It also helps pair with food, an area where rosé is very versatile. Fish, poultry and pork, not to mention vegetarian dishes, can be delicious alongside a chilled glass of rosé.

Here is a selection of three superb rosés from unsuspected places.

Valduero Rosato, 2005 (Ribera del Duero, Spain)

Navarra has long been known for its rosé based on garnacha (grenache), but other Spanish regions are getting into the act including the nearly exclusively red-dominated Ribera del Duero. Valduero is one of my favorite producers in the region and, given the quality of the wines, reasonably priced when compared to other local producers. Made from tempranillo, the grape used for all of Valduero’s red wines, this is medium-bodied with hints of tobacco and spice on a bed of fresh cherries.

Suggested retail — $15.99

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, 2006 (Stellenbosch, South Africa)

Mulderbosch is best-known for its stellar sauvignon blanc, but this rosé may be my favorite wine from this Stellenbosch producer. Medium-bodied, it has vibrant pomegranate, watermelon, strawberry fruit with a suggestion of fresh roses in the nose and a decidedlylong finish.

Suggested retail — $12.99

Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec, 2007 (Mendoza, Argentina)

I’ve written about Susana Balbo’s wines in previous columns, as she is one of the best winemakers south of the equator. Her Rosé of Malbec is always delightful, the ‘07 not withstanding. This wine has some weight but the acidity gives it a good lift. A mélange of red fruits with a note of blood orange on the finish, this rosé is once again reliable and refreshing.

Suggested retail — $10.99

Pamela Busch is the proprietor and wine director at CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen in San Francisco.

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