With the mercury struggling to push past 70, you might have to remind yourself that this is June and summer lurks just around the corner. But here in the valley, the weather can shift quickly-today's high may be tomorrow's low, helping to remind us that we live on the edge of a desert. And when the heat is on, the darkest wine I want to drink is a subtle shade of pink. A nicely chilled, dry rosé just seems to go with the season, as charming as it is refreshing, and it matches beautifully with the lighter foods of summer. Here are the panel's top picks from a line-up of rosés from around the world:
2003 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare, $10.99
Generally, when it comes to rosé, younger is better but this California blend of Rhône varieties (the only '03 in the lineup) still tastes fresh and fruity. The screw cap closure probably helps preserve that freshness. Opens with nice rhubarb and raspberry aromas that carry through on the palate and are backed by touches of rhubarb and kiwi. A nicely balanced wine with a tangy citrus finish that would be perfectly paired with fresh pastas.
2004 McCrea Rosé of Mourvèdre, $19.50
Lightly fragrant aromas of strawberry, dried apricots and clover, with an interesting bit of tamari in the mix. Rich and lively in the mouth, the soft berry flavors play against a very crisp and lemony finish. This family-owned Washington winery specializing in Rhône varieties has a well-deserved reputation for quality. Their lush and lovely rosé would go great with sushi or summer salads.
2004 Margan Shiraz Saignée, $12.99
Darker in color in the glass and bigger on the palate, the Margan from the Hunter Valley in Australia is a richly extracted rosé. What it gives up in charm and elegance it makes up for in intensity and opulence with spicy wildflower, rose hip, raspberry and melon aromas. A fruit-forward wine with impressive balance that offers bright berry and apricot flavors matched by ripe lemon and rhubarb. This one could hold up to most anything you'd want to throw on the grill.
This week's panel: Fawn Caveney, Tastevin; Dave Faulk, Porterhouse Meats; David Kirkpatrick, Boise Co-op; Cindy Limber, Bardenay; Kathleen Neville; The Milkyway, Kevin Settles, Bardenay.