The Wines of Summer - Half a Case of Rosé

Drinking Rosé is one of the things I look forward to when warm weather comes around. Of course it's possible to drink them all year round, but there's something about enjoying a well chilled Rosé outside on a warm day that sets an indelible mood. Thankfully over the last handful of years there are more and more Rosé's available in the US. For years a lot of people seemed to shun them, perhaps confusing them with White Zinfandel. But finally, it seems, most people realize the difference between the nuances and joys of dry Rosé versus the insipidly sweet White Zinfandels. I just tasted through a couple dozen Rosé's in a varying array of styles. Instead of looking at them all I'm going to highlight a handful that stood out to me for varying reasons. These are the Rosé's I recommend everyone drink all summer long.

Brutocao Cellars - 2007 Rosé. This selection is 100% Sangiovese and the suggested retail price is $14. It has a bright nose of strawberry and cherry. The mid-palate has an appealing touch of tartness along with all the berry fruit that brims forth from this one. The finish is long and lingering with a nice spice note to close. This is a nice choice for a picnic or light summer foods in general.

Michael David Winery - Incognito Pink. This wine is a blend of 62% Old Vine Cinsault, 20% Grenache and 18% Mouvedre. The suggested retail price of this wine is $14. This one opens with an immense nose absolutely bursting with watermelon notes. Tangerine is more subtle but also present. The mid-plate is rich, mouth-filling and full of bright fruit. The finish is fairly lengthy and features a copious amount of white pepper. Incognito Pink offers good complexity in its price-point.

Clos La Chance - 2007 Pink Throated Brilliant Rosé. This Rosé from Clos La Chance is a blend of 71% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 9% Pinot Noir. The suggested retail price is $14. The nose is incredibly fresh, bright and inviting. Just taking a whiff, with its heady rhubarb notes leaping out, brings summer instantly to mind. This offering really brings to mind the French Rosé's that set the benchmark for the category. A balance of fruit, minerality and acidity lead to a terrific wine. The finish is refreshing, beckoning the drinker back for sip after sip. Spice notes linger on the finish, well after your last taste.

Mil Piedras - 2007 Brut Nature Rosé. This Argentine release is equal parts Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. 800 Cases were produced and this wine sells for around $10. The nose of the lone non-California Rosé I'm looking at is full of wild raspberry notes. Hints of citrus are evident throughout the palate along with an abundance of bright and dark berry fruit notes. A slight touch of tartness and tingly white pepper are the standout highlights on the finish.

Swanson Vineyards- 2007 Rosato. The Swasnon Rosé is made from 100% Syrah and the suggested retail price is $21. Swanson has been making a Rosé since well before it started to become fashionable in California. This is in fact one of the wines that made me a Rosé drinker to begin with. The 2007 Rosato adds a touch of citrus to the red, mouth-filling fruit that's the hallmark of this wine each vintage. This is an excellent example of a dry New World Rosé. Whether you welcome guests with this wine as they enter your home, you pair it with the light foods of summer or you simply sip it, the Swanson Rosato is refreshing and consistent.

Mumm Napa - Blanc De Noirs. The Blanc De Noirs is a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay. The suggested retail price for this sparkler is $19. It seems to me that Sparkling Wine in this country is a bit under-enjoyed. People seem to relegate it to special occasions and celebrations. In truth they are often very versatile with a varying array of cuisine, make excellent aperitif or welcome wines and are simply a blast to drink. Wonderful black cherry come out in the nose and carries through the palate of this wine. The mid-palate itself features a ton of biscuit and scone notes. Mineral notes which are hinted at early on, emerge more prominently in the finish along with spice and lingering cherry flavors.

Although they're made in varying styles from different grapes the wines above have a lot in common. They're all well made, fun to drink, refreshing and speak of summer.

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