Deliciously dry rose is one of the fastest growing wine categories. The best are made from any number of red wine grapes, with the juice being pressed or bled off after a short maceration, allowing the final product to take on just a hint of color. The south of France is particularly well known for its charming and refreshing pink wines--the perfect choice for spring and summer consumption--but this tasting proved that the Northwest is equally worthy.
2012 Adelsheim Rose, $17.99
This Oregon entry is surprisingly dark in color for a rose made entirely from pinot noir. It offers light but lovely aromas of strawberry, peach and rhubarb pie, with just a touch of clover. That rhubarb definitely comes through on the palate, along with sour cherry and a crisp hit of Meyer lemon. There's a nice intensity to the finish that is marked by citrus zest and Jolly Rancher watermelon.
2012 Bila-Haut Rose, $13.99
A pale salmon in color, this blend of syrah, grenache and carignan is the product of one of the Rhone Valley's most respected domaines--Chapoutier. On the nose, it's a floral mix of strawberry, cherry and blood orange, colored by soft herb and spice. Ripe berries fill the mouth, which is marked by an intriguing, but hard to describe flavor that tastes something like old-school bubble gum. Good acidity adds balance on the finish.
2012 Charles & Charles Rose, $10.99
This collaborative effort from two top winemakers, Washington-based Charles Smith (K Vinters) and New York-based Charles Bieler (Three Thieves), is a syrah-dominant blend with dollops of mourvedre, cinsault and grenache. Heady aromas explode from the glass: rich and ripe strawberry, cranberry, rhubarb and spice. This is an exceptionally well-balanced wine with sweet cherry and berry fruit flavors playing against crisp lemon and lime. The finish is long and refreshing.