Blushing Over Spring Roses 

Think pink for the patio

For wine lovers, the month of May means the release of a new vintage of roses, and the 2010s are just now hitting the valley. Dry rose makes for a great transition wine. As the weather turns warmer, those reds of winter seem a little overwhelming, so think pink for the patio. Served lightly chilled, they're a food-friendly choice that works well in the spring and throughout the hot summer months. Our tasting showed that the south of France really has a way with rose, as wines from that region captured all three top spots.

2010 Domaine de Couron Rose, $9.99

Just the lightest blush of pink colors this 100 percent grenache rose from the Coteaux de l'Ardeche on the right bank of the Rhone River. It opens with enticing aromas, something like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. Ripe melon mingles with creamy peach on the palate, balanced by bright citrus that comes through especially on the finish. This one is a supple bargain.

2010 Domaine Houchart Rose, $11.99

This salmon-hued blend of grenache, syrah, cinsault, cabernet sauvignon and mouvedre hails from Provence. The aromas are a lovely mix of strawberry and clover. On the palate, it's an elegantly structured wine that charms with a blast of red berry fruit and racy citrus, and an intriguing touch of spice comes through on the finish.

2010 Moillard Rose, Les Violettes, $10.99

This coral pink pour from the Cotes du Rhone offers opulent aromas of spicy berry fruit, rose petal, fresh herb and lime. It's just as opulent on the palate, where crushed berry, sweet lemon and blood orange flavors fill the mouth. All that richness turns refreshingly crisp on the lively finish, making this rose a great choice for those cooler spring days.

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