Wine Sipper 

Pink Wine for Your Valentine

This Valentine's Day, say it with pink. The lovely hue that pours from a glass filled with an elegant rosé is as enticing as it is romantic. Made from red grapes, the juice for a rosé is pulled off the skins before the pigment is completely extracted, resulting in a wine fresh enough for an aperitif but with the structure and flavor to pair with a meal. Southern France and Spain are particularly fond of pink wines, and both produce some of the finest. Spanish rosés made the biggest hit with our panel for this tasting. Here are the top three picks:

2004 Ca del Solo Big House Pink, $9.49

From the good folks at California's Bonny Doon comes this vibrant blend of Carignane, Sangiovese, Charbono, Zinfandel and Barbera. Bright cherry and strawberry on the nose backed by rose hips, spice, rhubarb and vanilla. The flavors are soft with good length, offering sweet strawberry and raspberry fruit with a light touch of mint.

2004 Fuente del Conde, $7.99

This Spanish rosé is made entirely from Tempranillo, producing a wine with a bit of muscle to it. This wine is dominated by ripe strawberry aromas that are nicely balanced by a good dose of lemony citrus with subtle basil and lime adding interest. The flavors are full and rich with strawberry and dark berry fruit from start to finish. Normally priced at $10.99, a distributor markdown makes it a real bargain at $7.99

2004 Torres De Casta, $7.99

Another Spanish entry, this one is a blend of Garnacha and Carinena (Carignane). It's marked by fresh raspberry and lovely floral aromas of violets and lilacs, along with lightly herbal citrus and berry. A nicely balanced rosé, the Torres is packed with supple fruit flavors including strawberry and peach. Finishes long and smooth with a hint of mint against a floral backdrop. The Torres is another definite bargain.

This week's panel: Fawn Caveney, Tastevin; Dave Faulk, Porterhouse Meats; David Kirkpatrick, Boise Co-op; Karen McMillin, Idaho Wine Merchant; Kevin Settles, Bardenay; Leslie Young, Spirit Distributing.

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