Tasting Wine: Rosé is perfect for the holiday

I know you’ve all been waiting for another rosé column, right? Since I’m writing this the day before the Fourth of July, and you will be reading it a day after, I am almost late in getting this to you. If you’ve read previous rosé columns and I’m being redundant, please accept my apologies. For those who have not read much about rosé, or are maybe a bit afraid of pink-colored wine, here are a few things to consider.

Rosé has had a bad rap in the United States largely because of sweet and insipid renditions of years past. In the meantime, dry rosé has been thoroughly enjoyed in the south of France, Navarra in Spain, and other places while our noses have been in the air.

We’ve been catching on, though, and with help from writers such as Peter Mayle (“A Year in Provence”), wine publications, the Internet and even silly wine professionals like myself, Americans have become hip to rosé.

Dry rosé offers the thirst-quenching quality of dry white wines. It is made from red grapes, though white grapes can be added to a blend. It will take on the characteristics of the grapes from which it’s made; as a bonus, it can also reveal terroir. It doesn’t age well. Ideally, you want to get it when it is no more than a couple of years old.

Here are three rosés that have “picnic wine” written all over them. Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend, be safe and please remember my motto: A taxi is way cheaper than a DUI.

Karl Schmitt Pinot Meunier, Niersteiner Findling, 2007 (Rheinhessen, Germany): This “weingut” has the historical honor of being the first producer to make a trockenbeerenauslese, a very sweet- dessert wine, in 1900. This rosé is on the opposite end of the sugar spectrum. Made from pinot meunier, one of the prevalent Champagne grapes, it is uber minerally with floral notes, red berries and a tart finish. Suggested retail: $14

Vallevo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, 2007 (Abruzzi, Italy): This is just a delightful, unassuming little wine. Blossoming with strawberry fruit, it is very fresh and balanced. What more can you ask for on a hot summer day? Suggested retail: $9

Chateau Bas l’Alvernegue, 2007 (Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France): Brimming over with berry fruit, this wine almost reminds me of fruit punch. But then a floral wind blows in, and I think, huh, maybe not. Made from grenache, syrah and cinsault, it is a very tasty wine with nice acidity and high fruit tones, making it an absolutely lovely wine for daytime sipping. Suggested retail: $11

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

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