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8 great rosés for summer

I could drink rosé all summer. And it’s not only me. Rosé is no longer the introductory wine for people who fear or aren’t really sure if they like wine. Why do you think White Zinfandel used to be such a big seller?

Now, though, rosé is coming into its own as a serious wine. Barolo producer Luca Currado of Vietti even confessed that he likes rosé and whenever he visits his mother Luciana in Cannes, he loads up on Domaine Ott rosé.

For me, the benchmark is Domaine Tempier’s Bandol rosé, practically the house wine at Chez Panisse. But now that rosé has its groove back, finding good little rosés all over—from California, Oregon, Spain, even Germany.

The best summer strategy: buy a mixed case, and keep notes on what you like. I did the same and collected a big handful of favorite bottles. 2012 is a great vintage for rosé in France, which is why this list is strong on rosés from that part of the world.
 
EVERYTHING GOING FOR IT

2012 Domaine Tempier Bandol rosé (Provence, France): I shudder every time I see the sticker price on Domaine Tempier, but I have to buy a bottle or two every summer to be savored with one other. Preferably outside, at dusk, with a bowl of dark olives or little toasts spread with tapenade. This year’s Domaine Tempier? One of the greatest in recent memory. A serious wine, it has everything going for it—body, marvelous flavors of white peach and flowers, a funky earth note and long, satisfying finish. $35-$40.

Available at BestWinesOnline (888) 817-8880; www.bestwinesonline.com; DomaineLA in Los Angeles (323) 932-0280; www.domainela.com;  Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood (310)855-1161, www.du-vin.com; Envoyer Fine Wines in Laguna Hills (949)701-9175, www.envoyerfinewines.com; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa (949) 650-8463, www.hitimewine.net; John and Pete’s Fine Wines & Spirits in West Hollywood (310) 657-3080, www.johnandpetes.com;  K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood (323) 464-9463, www.klwines.com;  Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice (310) 392-7816; www.lincolnfinewines.com; The Wine Club in Santa Ana (714) 835-6485, www.thewineclub.com;  and Wine Exchange in Orange (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com. A magnum goes for $80 to $90 and some shops also have half bottles in the $22 to $25 range.

FOR A SUMMER AFTERNOON

2012 M de Minuty Côtes de Provence rosé (Provence, France): Another French rosé, this one also from Provence. The vineyards of Château de Minuty on the chic St. Tropez peninsula overlook the Mediterranean. Dry and aromatic with the scent of citrus and flowers, M de Minuty is a blend of Grenache with Cinsault and the local Tibouren grape. And it tastes of wild strawberries. Perfect drinking on a summer afternoon. $21-$28.

Available at BestWinesOnline (888) 817-8880; www.bestwinesonline.com; Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood (310)855-1161, www.du-vin.com; John and Pete’s Fine Wines & Spirits in West Hollywood (310) 657-3080, www.johnandpetes.com;  Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice (310) 392-7816; www.lincolnfinewines.com; Mel & Rose Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood (323) 655-5557, www.melandrose.com; Wally’s Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles (310) 475-0606, www.wallywine.com; Wine Exchange in Orange (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com; and Woodland Hills Wine Company in Woodland Hills (818) 222-1111 and (800) 678-9463; www.whwc.com.

ELEGANT AND RESTRAINED

2012 Domaine de Solitude Côtes du Rhone rosé (Rhone Valley, France): The palest peachy pink in color, Domaine de Solitude's rosé is elegant and restrained--a little rose petal, lemon on the finish, and a thrilling high note that brings you back for another sip. And another. $12-$15.

Available at Green Jug in Woodland Hills (818) 887-9463, www.greenjug.com;   Venokado in West Hollywood (323) 850-1600, www.venokado.com; Wine Exchange in Orange (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com; The Wine House in West Los Angeles (310) 479-3731, www.winehouse.com;  Woodland Hills Wine Company in Woodland Hills (818) 222-1111 and (800) 678-9463; www.whwc.com.

ONE OF CALIFORNIA'S BEST

2012 La Fenêtre A Côté Rosé (Santa Barbara County): The color is deeper, but in every other aspect A Côté Rosé is reminiscent of a Bandol rosé. Perfumed with strawberries and rose petals, the 2012 is 100 percent Pinot Noir and one of the best roses I’ve tasted from California. It has a wonderful delicacy, crisp acidity and long smooth finish. $12-$15.

Available at BestWinesOnline (888) 817-8880; www.bestwinesonline.com; Everson Royce in Pasadena (626) 765-9334; www.eversonroyce.com; Silver Lake Wine in Los Angeles (323) 662-9024, www.silverlakewine.com; The Twisted Vine in Fullerton (714) 871-1200, www.twistedvinewines.com; Wally’s Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles (310) 475-0606, www.wallywine.com; and Wine Lab @ The Camp in Costa Mesa (714) 850-1780, www.winelabcamp.com.

FRESH AND VIBRANT

2012 Château Miraval rosé Côtes de Provence (Provence, France): The new Provençal rosé from the Jolie-Pitt family (as in Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt) is a real surprise. It may be a celebrity wine, but it's real wine. With the help of Perrin family of famed Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, they've produced a quite lovely rosé, fresh and vibrant, with a silken texture and a taste of strawberries and red plums. And they're not gouging on the price either: it's pretty typical. Well done. $18-$22.

Available at Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood (310)855-1161, www.du-vin.com; Green Jug in Woodland Hills (818) 887-9463, www.greenjug.com; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa (949) 650-8463, www.hitimewine.net; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood (323) 464-9463, www.klwines.com; Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice (310) 392-7816; www.lincolnfinewines.com; The Wine House in West Los Angeles (310) 479-3731, www.winehouse.com and Woodland Hills Wine Company in Woodland Hills (818) 222-1111 and (800) 678-9463, www.whwc.com.

PRETTY AND JUICY

2012 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare (California): This California rosé from flamboyant vintner Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard is no shy flower. Put wan rosé out of your head. This one is exemplary--juicy, with a bright acidity and pretty finish. And the price is very attractive, too. I just wish it were around at more stores. A summer basic. $12 to $16. [UPDATED: An earlier version of this story misspelled Grahm as Graham].

Available at Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach (310) 374-3454, www.manhattanfinewines.com; Wine Exchange in Orange (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com; The Wine Connection in San Diego (877)667-9463, www.thewineconnection.com; and from the winery at Bonny Doon Vineyard.

WEIGHTY AND CRISP

2012 Bodegas Muga rosado (Rioja, Spain): This rosado from renowned Rioja producer Bodegas Muga is another rosé I buy every summer. Salmon pink in color, it has a bit more weight and structure than a typical rosé, along with slightly higher alcohol. Dry, crisp, quaffable, it's blend of mostly Garnacha (Grenache) with Viura and Tempranillo, Graciano or Mazuelo, depending on the year.  And it's half the price of some of the more famous rosés from the South of France. $10-$15.

Available at Green Jug in Woodland Hills (818) 887-9463, www.greenjug.com; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood (323) 464-9463, www.klwines.com; Mission Wines in South Pasadena (626) 403-9463, www.missionwines.com; Wally’s Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles (310) 475-0606, www.wallywine.com; The Wine Club in Santa Ana (714) 835-6485, www.thewineclub.com; Wine Exchange in Orange (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com; and Woodland Hills Wine Company in Woodland Hills (818) 222-1111 and (800) 678-9463; www.whwc.com.

PEACHES AND EARTH

2012 Domaine du Gros’ Noré Bandol rosé (Provence, France): Alain Pascal makes another of my favorite Bandol rosés. Made from Mourvèdre, the grape that gives Bandol reds such canny complexity and staying power blended with Cinsault and 20% Grenache, his rosé has an appealing minerality and scent of peaches and earth. $25-$30.

Available at Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice (310) 392-7816; www.lincolnfinewines.com; Los Angeles Wine Company in Los Angeles (800) 854-8466 and Palm Desert (760) 346-1763, www.lawineco.com; Mission Wines in South Pasadena (626) 403-9463, www.missionwines.com; Wine Exchange in Orange (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com.

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