When the summer starts to heat up, I find most red wines a lot less appealing. Give me a crisp, refreshing, nicely chilled white and I'm a lot happier. But what do you do when you want to match a grilled ribeye or a slab of baby back ribs slathered in barbecue sauce. A light red like a Beaujolais, served cool, works pretty well, but I'll take a dry rose over that most any summer day. In the south of France, where they know a little something about heat, roses are the wines of the season. Usually a blend of grapes dominated by grenache and syrah, they are something of a benchmark. So, although our lineup included roses from around the world, it was no surprise when the top three hailed from France. Here are the panel's picks:
2008 Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris, $14.99
On the nose, it's like walking into a kitchen where a strawberry rhubarb pie has just been pulled from the oven, the yeasty fragrance of baked crust mingling with the rich, warm filling. Things turn crisp and refreshing on the palate, with flavors that lean toward citrus--lemon, lime, orange--backed by sweet cherry and tart berry. All in all, this is an appealing wine that would go well with most any summer fare.
2008 Mas des Bressades Cuvee Tradition, $10.99
The aromas are beautifully floral, marked by the scent of orange blossom and fragrant carnation with a light whiff of basil. This wine is on the richer side of the rose flavor spectrum with a complex array of flavors: dark cherry, ripe strawberry, star fruit and blood orange. Bright citrus helps even things out on the supple finish.
2008 Domaine de Saint-Antoine, $9.99
Lovely layered aromas pour from the glass, including ripe cherry, sweet melon, creamy vanilla and rose petal. The palate is filled with crushed berry flavors, along with mango and sweet lime, all backed by a balancing hit of tangy acidity. This charming rose with light touches of orange and lemon zest coming through on the finish is the perfect summer refresher.:
This week's panel: Dave Faulk, Porterhouse Meats; David Kirkpatrick, Boise Co-op Wine Shop; Karen McMillin, Young's Market; Leslie Young, Boise Co-op Wine Shop