Liquid Assets

A Rosé by any other name

With the hot weather here to stay for the next few months, we're all looking for a cool and refreshing drink. Everywhere else in the world, summer means rosé. But here in the states, most folks equate rosé generally with blush wines and specifically with White Zinfandel, even though the only similarity is the color pink. A good rosé is refreshing and filled with red fruit aromas – like strawberries and raspberries – yet carries enough acid to make it a good food wine. Most important of all, it's good chilled. We Texans should love the stuff, because it goes so beautifully with all of our regional dishes. Whether it's enchiladas, shrimp, ribs, or red snapper, a dry rosé is a perfect match for Texas food.

Argentina is the home of some excellent Malbecs. The wine is usually made in a dark red Bordeaux style, but a few winemakers are making it into rosé. One of the best of those winemakers is Susana Balbo, whose Rosé Crios ($13) is a great introduction to the dry style of rosé. Her wine marries fruity aromas with tart flavors and a heady amount of alcohol. Poach a red snapper with a hit of Mexican mint marigold, and you'll get a good idea of what a good food wine this is.

We also have some first-rate examples closer to home. From California, Vin Gris de Cigare ($12) is a version of a Rhone rosé with lots of grapes blended into a delicious drink. Try it with a Pescado Veracruzano, heavy on the olives. Several Texas wineries are producing dry rosés, and two of my favorites are from right here in the Hill Country. Becker Vineyards' Provencal ($10) blends Cabernet Sauvignon with Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, while Spicewood Vineyards rosé ($12) is a straight Cabernet Sauvignon. Both wines go great with fajitas.

The very best examples of rosé come from the southern part of France. A wine that is easy to find and nice to drink is the Chateau Routas Rosé ($11) from Provence, a perfect picnic wine. My favorite rosé is the version from Domaine Tempier in Bandol. It's a pricey treat, but if you feel like splurging, it's a great way to spend $35. Pair it up with chicken with 40 cloves of garlic or pommes frites with aioli, and you'll feel like you're sitting on a beach overlooking the Mediterranean.

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Rosé, Susana Balbo, Vin Gris de Cigare, Becker Vineyards

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