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Written by Jacqueline Coleman, BT Contributor   
July 2017

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

WPix_Vino_7-17hen I was a kid growing up here in Florida and the days got longer and the bugs got bolder, my dad would sing to me “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy....” Surely you’re humming it now, too. Here we are in the middle of another Miami summer, and, man, is it sticky out there.

In the wine world, steamy summertime usually means we say goodbye to bold red wines and hello to cooler, lighter-colored varietals. Sure, we can still indulge a desire for heavy tannins in the comfort of a favorite steakhouse, but when lounging poolside instead of fireside, it’s comforting to know that there are plenty of equally interesting wines to enjoy.

Enter rosé, or rosado, as they call it in the Spanish-speaking world.

It’s an antiquated perception that rosé is a beginner’s wine. In fact, we’ve seen a lot of great quality and variety coming from pink wines lately, and not just from the South of France. Tasty rosés are produced in many wine regions and can be made from various types of red grapes through limited amount of contact between the colorful grape skins and the juice during the winemaking process, or by means of a red and white varietal blend. Here at Vino, we’ve taken the time to review a few that you can enjoy in the sweltering summer sun, and that won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

One of my go-to summer barbecue rosés is La Vieille Ferme, or as many affectionately call it, “the wine with the rooster on the label.” This southern Rhône rosé is straightforward and light, with the perfume of a dainty strawberry; it’s ephemeral on the nose but sticks more on the tongue with the help of decent acidity. It’s refreshing and crisp, and the light red berries on the palate won’t steal the spotlight from your dinner dish.

However, if you’re tired of pastel pink Côtes du Rhône wines, venture over into the Malbec rosés. These are great rosé segues for you big red drinkers. The Phebus Malbec rosé from Argentina and the Gouleyant from France are New World/Old World options for a fuller mouth feel. While the Gouleyant has a strong start with rich, ripe red berries on the nose, it’s slightly flimsy on acidity and has a fleeting flavor. Phebus satisfies in overall body weight and balance, its red raspberry lingering on the tongue and fulfilling the nose’s promise of a heavier summer wine.

For those who enjoy a wine conversation, here’s an interesting twist on rosés: a Spier South African Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend. The stone fruit and apple of the Chardonnay is intense on the nose, but there’s a hint of something that softens it -- the elegant red berry of the Pinot Noir. This rosé is well balanced with mild acidity, and while it’s excellent on its own, it might be a little harder to pair with food owing to the 60 percent Chardonnay.

Speaking of food pairing, rosé can be a perfect dinner accompaniment. I found that the peachy pink French Juliette has just the right combination of mouth-watering acidity and citrusy-peach on the palate to complement any spicy curry, or pineapple or lemon white fish. This Provençal blend of 70 percent Grenache, 30 percent Syrah makes for a great dinnertime rosé.

If the French win the food pairing, then the Spaniards win the labeling contest with a rosado named El Terrano. A beautiful presentation of pink flowers on a turquoise background makes this bottle table-decoration ready. A Garnacha rosado (or Grenache rosé), it packs strong red berries on the nose and a full-bodied feel in the mouth, with sharp acidity hitting the sides of your tongue. If you’re a fan of Spanish wines, this one should be on your summer drinking list.

I’ve saved the boldest for last: a deep red rosé from central Chile. Anakena’s Syrah rosé is not for the entry-level rosé drinker. Ripened raspberries and plum hit the nose, while on the palate, this wine boasts more tannins than your average rosé. Ripe cherry flavors dance around your tongue as it basks in balanced acidity bliss. Anakena, a Cachapoal Valley specialty, is also a value at the high end of our Vino price point.

 

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