A Warm May needs Rosé 

In places where it's hot, the locals turn to pink wine. It's the perfect match for warm weather and the light foods that go with it. Not that ocean of sweet blush that pours out of California--we're talking crisp and clean, dry and fruity wines served cool and refreshing. My favorites come from the south of France with a back label that reads "Robert Kacher Selection." Thanks to an overseas dock strike the '06 vintage of those wines hasn't hit our valley yet, but look for them in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, here are a few rosés from around the globe that are sure to please:

2006 Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris, $12.99

From the Corbieres region in the south of France, this one was selected by Kermit Lynch, another back-label name you can trust. Opens with light and lively sweet clover, peach and melon aromas. On the palate, the Fontsainte is an elegant charmer with creamy berry fruit and lemon zest along with nuances of spicy orange. The finish is slightly crisp and very refreshing with nervy citrus and a soft hit of smooth tannins.

2006 Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec Rose, $7.99

This offering from Argentina is on the rich side of the rosé spectrum, offering ripe strawberry and dark cherry aromas backed by a touch of spice and clover. Fruit forward in style, filled to the brim with flavors that suggest sweet strawberries covered in dark chocolate. Light on acidity but long on silky fruit that lingers on and on. A delightfully different bargain.

2005 Marques de Cáceres Rose, $7.99

The only 2005 to make the list, Spanish rosés based on the Tempranillo grape (the Caceres is 80 percent) are typically longer-lived than most. Fragrant and floral on the nose, displaying notes of ripe red berry and fig. Surprisingly fresh and fruity in the mouth with supple cherry and berry flavors and a long velvety finish. This winery's white was a top pick a couple of weeks back, and the rosé is an equally fine buy. :

This week's panel: Dave Faulk, Porterhouse Meats; David Kirkpatrick, Boise Co-op; Cindy Limber, Bardenay; Kyle Mahler, Bardenay; and Kevin Settles, Bardenay.

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