Wine of the Week
Summer is when dry Rosés shine. The low-alcohol, refreshingly cool wines slake your thirst and cleanse your palate, while the fruity, aromatic characteristics make for a delicious treat.
During the past decade, international winemakers have discovered that Austin is one of the most sophisticated wine towns in the U.S. One of the reasons for that renown is that we also buy more Rosé wine, per capita, than almost anywhere else in the U.S., and urbane drinkers understand the fun of a good Rosé.
Rosé wines have faced an uphill battle in the rest of the country. Winemakers believe it is because novice consumers are afraid someone will think they are drinking a sickly sweet blush wine. Of course, people who don't really care what others think and have confidence in their own opinions happily quaff the good stuff and say a little prayer of thanks that we get so much of it.
I've been making notes on which wines to tell you about, but to be honest, I haven't had a bad Rosé this year. It's a great time to trust your favorite wine seller and just take their opinion. But here are a few wines to look out for.
Kenwood Pinot Noir Rosé ($14): If you like Pinot, this wine will amaze you. For your money, you'll get a true, albeit light, version of great Pinot Noir. The fascinating thing for drinkers who ponder their wines is how it changes as it warms from refrigerator temperature to room temperature. Dark-cherry aromas morph into strawberry, and low acidity changes to mouth-cleansing zing.
Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare ($13): That wacky winemaker Randall Grahm annually turns out one of California's finest Rosés. It's a perfect summer drink with all the huge red-berry aromas and flavors. Art lovers should pay close attention to the label. Turns out there's some obscure law in France about zeppelins flying over towns, so Grahm devised a label depicting a zeppelin attack. Presumably, the law came prior to the birth of Bonzo Bonham, the most dangerous zeppelin threat.
Château d'Aqueria Tavel ($16): The Romans started the wine business in Tavel around AD400, which qualifies it as one of the oldest winemaking spots on the planet. The wines are quintessential French Rosé. Imagine a California version with both tannins and acids jacked up to the point that the wine both puckers you up and dries your mouth when you swallow. The reason for the style is the French have Rosés with food, and when you add something like a shrimp cocktail or a chicken-salad sandwich to a Tavel, magic happens. The d'Aqueria is a great example and easy to find, but if you want to try a French Rosé, ask your wine seller for a wine of the area from Provence, east to Bandol, and north to Lyon. You're in for a treat.
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