Weekend Wine: Nothing Says Spring Like Rosé

Four delightful – and affordable – lightweight, full-flavored wines

If you even occasionally stroll into a wine emporium, you know that rosé wines are suddenly everywhere. In the last few years, winemakers have glommed onto the public’s sudden infatuation with bone-dry pink wines by producing ever more of the stuff.

After having spent a couple of decades banished to the bottom of wine lists and hidden from plain view in stores, consumers seem to have a superabundance of options. Once upon a time, pink wines received a death-penalty thumbs down from wine snobs when someone decided to tar the concept with its worst proponent, white zinfandel.

But wait. The stuff that comes from outside the U.S. doesn’t taste like white zinfandel. It tastes like spring, all bursting with new flavors, floral aromas, and sunshine. Now, everyone is making rosé while almost nobody is making white zins. It is amazing what an open mind and a willingness to gamble some hard-earned money will do for your drinking habits.

Covering even a smattering of the possibilities would take a book or two, and we have to keep the word count down. But I have four wines that have recently brought a smile to this wine lover’s lips.

First is Olema’s Côtes de Provence Rosé ($16). Olema is a negotiant-style business that buys grapes from areas they feel reflect the ideal versions of said grapes, and it is hard to get more ideal than the wines from the village of Vidauban in Southern France.

Mathilda Chapoutier (Photo courtesy of the winery)

The next wine is from Michel Chapoutier, one of the Rhône’s great winemakers. A decade ago, he decided to purchase some land in Australia, and the resulting wine shows it was a very good idea. The winery is called Tournon by M. Chapoutier and the wine is named Mathilda Rosé Victoria ($18). It is named for his daughter, who must be quite a lovely and accomplished person – which is also how to describe this wine. It is made from 100% Grenache and smells like raspberries and roses.

Kris Rosé ($15) is a wonderful mouthful of wine from Italy’s Alto Adige. If you aren’t familiar with the region, it’s one that should be on your radar. In my opinion, it is one of the world’s five greatest areas for making white wines. Locals, however, are equally proud of their red wines, and this is an uncommon find. For some reason, only a very few rosés from Alto Adige make their way to the U.S. Kris is made from a blend of Corvina and Rondinella grapes, and it creates a freshly acidic wine that belongs more on the dining table than at a party.

Finally, Casa Lapostolle “Le Rosé,” Rapel Valley ($16) is a Chilean wine made by a French family using Mediterranean grapes like Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Lapostolle always seems to put a little more quality per dollar in the bottle, partly due to its low labor and land costs.

Each of these four wines tastes different, but all share characteristic light weight, huge aromas, and delicious berry-like flavors. Any of them should make you a happy camper, and I can’t think of any higher calling than getting out during the cooler days of spring to enjoy an under-the-stars picnic with a small campfire and the smell of charcoal roasting meats and vegetables wafting by.

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