I drink roses all year long. When the weather's cold, they're my "winter white," making a nice break from heavier reds. When the heat is on, they're my "summer red," crisp and refreshing, but with a nice depth of flavor. My favorites come from the south of France, and if there is one season that cries out for rose, it has to be spring. After months of cabin fever, a lightly chilled glass of pink on the patio is a welcome change. We're just now seeing the first few wines from the new 2011 vintage. Here are a few favorites.
2011 Cinder Rose, $14.99
This wine is from the south, but it's Southern Idaho not southern France. Winemaker Melanie Krause is crafting excellent wines from our local grapes, and this one is no exception. It's 100 percent syrah with a deeper color than many roses. The sweet berry and melon aromas are deep and full. The palate has a lively texture with racy acidity that balances the ripe red-fruit flavors, while an intriguing minerality colors the crisp finish. This wine is definitely a food-friendly choice.
2011 Domaine Houchart Rose, $13.99
This pale pink wine from France's Cotes de Provence combines grenache, syrah and cinsault with dollops of cabernet sauvignon and mourvedre. Exceptionally well structured with an appealing elegance, this wine gives a touch of clover on the floral nose. The flavors are ripe and lively, marked by bright strawberry, tart cherry and sweet raspberry. It is absolutely delicious.
2011 Penya Rose, $10.99
From a cooperative winery in Cases de Pene--a tiny village in the Roussillon region of southern France--this beautiful rose is a blend of 60 percent syrah and 40 percent grenache. It offers both charm and an appealing richness, with sweet cherry and raspberry aromas that lead to ripe red fruit and melon flavors. The finish on this rose is clean and refreshing.