There's no need to feel embarrassed anymore by your love for pink wines. If you somehow haven't noticed, rosé wines are all over the place. Every wine shop has its wall of them, maybe not as beautifully displayed as the one at the new Helen's Wines at the back of Jon & Vinny's on Fairfax, but still, they're right up front.
Which are the good ones? Probably not that $5.99 bottle. Sorry. Here are a few worthy contenders in the $10 to $25 range.
2014 Donkey & Goat Isabel's Cuvée Grenache Rosé (Mendocino)
Made from Grenache Gris vines from Mendocino County that are more than 100 years old, Isabel's Cuvée is not a shy rosé. Bottled fined and unfiltered, the flavors are bright and complete — raspberries, strawberries and other red fruit, with a lovely long and dry finish. It's a wonderful sipper, delicious with a grilled stone fruit and burrata salad, a slice of pissaladière or a salade Niçoise. Look for it at Domaine LA and K&L in Hollywood, Lou's Wine Shop & Tastings in Los Feliz and Wine Exchange. About $25.
2014 CrossBarn Rosé of Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)
CrossBarn is the project of stellar winemaker Paul Hobbs with the help of a young winemaking team. They're turning out excellent, affordable wines that rake in the points. This Pinot Noir rosé sourced from Sonoma Coast grapes is a pale peachy rose, with a fragrance of citrus blossom and cherries. It's dry and crisp on the palate, a good match for tapenade, crudités and smoked salmon. Available online from CrossBarn Winery, but should be showing in stores soon. About $18.
2013 Ouled Thaleb Rosé (Morocco)
The real bargain in the rosé wars is this example from the oldest working winery in Morocco, just inland from Casablanca. A blend of 60% Syrah with 30% Grenache and 10% Cinsault, this Moroccan rosé shows the potential for Mediterranean-style wines from North Africa. It's bright and clean, with a mouthwatering crispness and a light scent of strawberries. Drink it as an apéritif with olives and toasted almonds. Or bring it to the table with seafood and lightly spiced dishes. Look for it at Bar & Garden in Culver City, Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa and K&L in Hollywood. The 2014 has just arrived and should be in stores soon. From $10 to $14.
2014 Arnot-Roberts "Luchsinger Vineyard" Touriga Nacional Rosé (Clear Lake, California)
Okay, so what's the Portuguese grape Touriga Nacional doing in a rosé from California? Who knows. But Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts sussed a vineyard out, and they're producing an extravagantly perfumed rosé. No surprise from two of California's best vintners. Layered with flavors, spices and unexpected complexities, this is no simple rosé. Sip it on a summer afternoon or pair it with grilled whole fish, seafood pasta or peel-and-eat shrimp. Look for it at Domaine LA and K&L in Hollywood and at Wine Country in Long Beach. From $22 to $25.
2014 Château de Pampelonne Côtes de Provence Rosé (Provence, France)
A light salmon pink, the 2014 Côtes de Provence rosé is dry and subtly fruity. A blend of Grenache with Cinsault, Syrah and a touch of Tibouren, this full-bodied rosé has a bright clean finish and supple structure. It pairs beautifully with food —grilled salmon or roast chicken, and aioli. Look for it at Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles, Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice, Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach, the Wine Club and Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, Wine House in Los Angeles and Woodland Hills Wine Company in Woodland Hills. From $17 to $19.