I am continually amazed at the number of people who take a pass on pink wine—if you are among that group, you're really missing out. I'm not talking about white Zinfandel here, or some other overly sweet and insipid blush. Good rosé is both charming and refreshing, with an appealing floral quality and enticingly forward fruit. They make a delightful match to the warmer spring weather and are the perfect wines for the lighter foods of summer. Best consumed young, the 2003 vintage is just now appearing in Boise. Here are the panel's top picks:
2003 Ch. Grande Cassagne, Costières de Nîmes, $9.99
A blend of Mouvedre, Grenache and Syrah, the translucent ruby color attracts the eye as the floral rose petal and soft mix of cherry and berry aromas appeal to the nose. An absolutely charming wine with excellent structure and length, the light berry fruit and soft acid on the finish work well together, making you want to take sip after refreshing sip.
2002 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare, California, $10.99
A year older than the other two wines, but none the worse for the extra time in the bottle. In fact, this wine has picked up a little complexity and richness that comes through especially on the nose, with aromas of sweet rose, blueberry, orange blossom and strawberry. There's a nice creaminess to the cherry fruit flavors, with hints of strawberry on the soft finish.
2003 Andrew Murray Sanglier, Paso Robles, $12.99
A bigger styled rosé from this California producer specializing in Rhône varieties. Big rich aromas of sweet cherry, cola and a hint of caramel. The flavors are equally rich with big, bright strawberry and cherry fruit dominating the palate. Pretty full-bodied for a rosé, but should be just the thing to go with summer barbecues.
This week's panel: Peter Johns, Crane Creek Market; David Kirkpatrick, Boise Co-op; Cindy Limber, Bardenay; Karen McMillin, Idaho Wine Merchant; Kathleen Neville, The MilkyWay.