Once considered a wine for wimps, rosé has become a best-seller -- and not only in warm weather. When in doubt, pick rosé. Helen's Wines at the back of Jon & Vinny's has a whole wall of rosés in every shade, from pale onion skin to salmon, from coral to classic rose petal pink.
But its appeal is not just about the color. Serious winemakers are turning their attention to rosé, experimenting with different grapes, and convincing more wine drinkers to go pink, at least for the summer.
Caution: Not all of the bottles herded together at the front of wine shops are worth buying. There's a lot of plonk out there mixed in with the good stuff. If your supplies are running low, here are a half-dozen rosés to keep on your radar.
2014 Chateau de Segries Tavel rosé (Southern Rhone, France)
Louis XIV cited Tavel for its rosés that dated as far back as the 13th century, and as the most famous rosé appellation, its prices have sometimes been out of whack compared to the quality. Not so at Chateau de Segries, which makes a classic Tavel -- bone dry, scented with strawberries and raspberries. Made from Grenache, Cinsault and a touch of Clairette and Syrah, it has a mineral character that keeps you coming back to the glass. Wonderful with a tapenade on toast, whole grilled fish and bouillabaisse. Look for it at Los Angeles Wine Company, Mission Liquor & Wines, and Total Wine & More at various locations. About $20.
2014 Alloy Wine Works "Tin City" Central Coast Grenache Rosé (Central Coast)
Here's a rosé to take to the beach, on a picnic or to an outdoor concert -- it's rosé in a tall boy-sized can, made from Central Coast Grenache. At $7.50 for 500 ml (about 2/3 of a regular wine bottle and maybe three glasses to share), it's quite the bargain for a rosé that's pretty, pink -- and portable. From Andrew Jones from Field Recordings in Paso Robles, who also puts his slightly higher-priced "Fiction" rosé in a can (and also in a conventional bottle). Look for it at K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood and Silverlake Wine in Los Angeles, among others. About $7.50 for a 500 ml can (2/3 of a normal bottle).
2014 Clos Beylesse Côtes de Provence (Provence, France)
At recent rosé tastings, this Côtes de Provence rosé in a cobalt blue Riesling-style bottle stood out from the crowd, and not just for the bottle. Mostly Syrah with 20% each Grenache and Syrah, the Clos Beylesse is an elegant dry rosé with a nose of flowers and rose petals. Pair it with Japanese and other Asian food, with smoked fish and chilled soups. Look for it at Barsha Wines & Spirits in Manhattan Beach, Du Vin Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, Heritage Fine Wines in Beverly Hills, K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Mel & Rose Wine & Spirits in West Hollywood, and Wally's in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. From $24 to $31.
2014 Ampelos Cellars Rosé of Syrah Santa Barbara County (Central Coast)
This rosé from organically farmed Santa Barbara County grapes sells out quickly, though you can still find it on some wine lists. The 2014 is juicy and big, with bright flavors of strawberries and watermelon. Mostly Syrah, the blend includes some Grenache and a touch of Riesling. This is a wine for food, for a roast chicken, a grilled salmon or a mess of peel 'n' eat shrimp. Look for it at Buzz Wine in Los Angeles and Vino Paraiso in Murrieta, and wine.com, among others.
2014 Ameztoi "Rubentis" Rosé Getariako Txakolina (Basque Country, Spain)
The Spanish Basque Country mostly produces delicious, slightly pétillant (fizzy) whites, but there’s also a small amount of rosé. Ameztoi, with vineyards overlooking the fishing village of Getaria, produces one of the best. Light pink, this lighthearted rosé is bright with the taste of cherries and citrus zest. Its underlying minerality and slight bitterness make it a fascinating match for charcoal-grilled seafood and especially the salt-cured anchovies so beloved in this part of Spain. Look for it at domaineLA in Hollywood, Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Monopole Wine in Pasadena, the Wine Country in Signal Hill, Wine House in Los Angeles and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills. From $20 to $22.
2014 Domaine Lafage Côtes de Roussillon Miraflors Rosé (Languedoc-Roussillon, France)
A beautiful rosé for the price, Domaine Lafage comes in a frosted glass bottle just a shade lighter than the wine within. This one is mostly Mourvedre with 30% Grenache Gris. Perfumed with strawberries and white peaches, Lafage Miraflors rosé is elegant, dry and subtle. It's great drinking with California and Mediterranean small plates, or simply as an apéritif with a bowl of olives and almonds. Look for it at Duke of Bourbon in Westlake Village, Fine Wine House in Los Angeles, K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills. About $15.
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