Last spring, I extolled the virtues of rose as a great way to beat the heat. With the temperatures beginning to cool, roses also work especially well as transition wines, bridging the gap between the crisp whites of summer and the lighter reds of fall. Here are the top three picks from a recent rose revisit:
2013 Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris, $17.99
A French gris de gris, by law, must be made from lighter-skinned red wine grapes, in this case grenache gris dominates. The Fontsainte uses the saignee method, where juice is bled off the must early on to increase the intensity of a red wine. That juice becomes a rose and this wine is a beautiful testament to the technique. You get lovely strawberry jam aromas with hints of herb and grapefruit. The flavors are rich but refreshing, offering a combo of ripe apple, rhubarb and red berry.
2013 Domaine Sainte-Eugenie Rose, $11.99
A blend of cinsault (80 percent) with equal dollops of grenache noir and syrah, the Eugenie employs a traditional maceration technique where the juice spends a short time on the skin to draw off some color. The result is a floral pink hue with rose hip, honeysuckle, clover and orange zest aromas. The flavors are light and breezy marked by tart cherry, watermelon, light peach, blood orange and lime.
2013 Sokol Blosser Rose of Pinot Noir, $15.99
Hand-harvested Willamette Valley pinot spends just four to six hours on the skin before the juice is pressed off, which gives this wine a beautiful salmon-y pink color. Strawberry rhubarb aromas dominate the nose along with touches of herb, grass and pomegranate. Zesty citrus flavors up front are backed by smooth strawberry and raspberry fruit. Creamy lime and citrus zest come through on the finish, lingering nicely.