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Wines to Put You in the Pink This Summer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Citara - BT Contributor   
August 2012

Red, white, and you: Agreeable wine for $12 or less

Pix_for_Vino_8-12It’s not easy being pink. If you’re anywhere to the left of Attila the Hun, it seems, you’re a pinko. Pinkie rings are worn by dese, dem, and dose guys, the kind who say things like: “Break his arms wit da tire iron, Guido.” Pink elephants are what you see when you chug embalming fluid instead of vodka.

Pink eye is a disease that makes you look like a rose-colored raccoon. A pink slip is corporate America’s way of saying, “Get lost, sucker. We’ve shipped your job off to India.” Pink is actually a human being, apparently some sort of pop star. And of course, there’s the recent Susan G. Komen controversy, which gave pink ribbons a bad name.

It’s not easy being pink wine, either.

Its biggest problem is the curse of White Zinfandel, a liquid confection created by marketing geniuses mostly to prove that an adult beverage could be as sweetly insipid as Kool-Aid. Which is a shame, because pink wine -- or to put a tux on this particular pig, rosé -- has much to recommend it. It likes to be chilled, always a good idea in a tropical climate. It delivers both crisp acidity and pleasing fruit, and is also typically lower in alcohol than most reds and whites, making it ideal for summertime sipping.

Of course, you can’t talk about rosés without talking about Côtes de Provence. This region bordering the Mediterranean, in the southeast corner of France, is known for its sunny, warm summers that help produce bright, ripe, fresh-tasting fruit. Almost 90 percent of its production is rosé, and it accounts for around half of all the rosé produced in France.

All those bright, sunny fruit flavors were on tasty display in a pair of Provencal rosés, the 2011 Chateau Montaud and the 2010 Domaine de Paris. The Montaud is one sexy baby, a pale salmon-colored wine in a sinuously curvy bottle. Light bodied with relatively low alcohol (12 percent), it tastes like fresh-picked raspberries and strawberries. With just a hint of minerality and mild acidity, it’s a perfect warm-weather wine.

A more bracing acidity and minerality can be found in the Domaine de Paris. Fruity aromas are balanced by crisp citrus and earthy mineral elements, yet in your mouth the fruit predominates with the acidity coming on later in the lingering finish. This is another good sipping rosé, also one whose tangy acidity and well-balanced fruit makes it a fine match with anything from grilled salmon to raw oysters.

Then there’s the 2010 Auguste Antonin Cuvée Farigoul. If you like your lemon juice straight, no chaser, you’ll like this wine, which teases you with scents of ripe strawberry and orange fruit then unloads a wickedly tart acid bomb on your palate. Perhaps you’ll have a taste for it. I don’t.

From France’s Loire Valley comes a rosé more palatable to my taste buds, the 2011 Bougrier Rosé d’Anjou. This is almost California-like in its bold, ripe fruit -- think just-picked strawberries again -- but on the back palate, you get that balancing hit of lemon-lime acidity. It’s got some texture, too -- almost creamy in the mouth, so it can stand up to meaty fish like tuna and swordfish, or lighter meats like chicken and veal.

And speaking of California, here are two rosés that should wipe the insipid taste of White Zinfandel right out of your mouth. Sobon Estate’s 2011 Rezerve is as engaging as a frisky puppy -- all vibrant red cherry and strawberry flavors with a hint of citrus and minerals, full-bodied but not flabby, a lovely wine with California’s trademark ripe fruit.

Same goes times two for Folie a Deux’s 2010 Ménage á Trois, a blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Gewurztraminer. Lots of plums, cherries, and berries, with orange-citrus acidity and a slight floral character from the Gewurz. It’s a great grilled-burger/chicken summer picnic wine.

And now for something a little different: pink wine, with bubbles. And Italian, too. It’s the NV Conte Priola Raboso. Raboso is a grape grown in Italy’s Veneto region; in this case its evanescence isn’t as long lasting as Champagne’s (nor is its $7.99 price tag as daunting). But it does deliver the yeasty, mineral nuances of its more upscale French counterpart, along with some crisp orange-berry fruit that might just make it a little easier to be pink. The wine, that is. Not the pop star.


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