In the Pink: Rosé Wines You Want to Drink

White Zinfandel has given pink wine a black eye.

I think of it as a step up from spiked Kool-Aid, but just barely. Too sweet and something a teenage girl might drink. But not all pink wines are created equal.

About 10 years ago, on a summer trip to France, my husband and I discovered Bandol and Tavel rosés, with their refreshing, crisp acidity and beautiful color, to our great delight. And there’s something about a humid summer night that makes me yearn to recreate that experience.

Happily, Schaefer’s Wines, Foods & Spirits in Skokie has a huge selection of rose wines this summer. With the help of Wine Director Sterling Pratt and Sommelier Janel Syron, my hubby and I were able to relive that thrill of wine discovery, sitting at their wine bar, tasting our way through the following and learning a bit along the way.

These wines are not the least bit sweet, and pair terrifically with warm weather foods. Rosé. It’s not your grandma’s wine. It’s yours.

Crios Rosé 2009, Argentina ($11.97)
This fine blush wine is from female winemaker Susana Balbo. She uses Malbec grapes. The ripe fruit flavors make for a heavier rosé, akin to a light pinot noir. A perfect match for roast chicken or duck.

Chateau Revelette 2009, France ($12.97)
Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan grapes are carefully blended to deliver this gem. It’s subtle flavors and crisp acidity (think lemony) is fabulous with sushi and sashimi.

Hogwash Rosé 2009, California ($13.97)
The beautiful salmon color and fruit-forward nose make this festive rosé very drinkable. Lots of fresh, ripe berries and less acidity then some of the others. Perfect for sipping on the patio.

Muga Rioja Rosé 2008, Spain ($14.95)
With its higher acidity, this wine is crisp, dry and light, with gorgeous cherry flavors.
An excellent “entry-level rosé”, according to Syron. Paella would be a good excuse to drink this.

Blackbird Arriviste Rosé 2009, Napa Valley ($18.97)
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc provides a bright acidity. Pair with lighter pork dishes, Pasta Primavera or cold chicken salad.

Llopart Sparkling Cava Rosé Brut Reserva 2006, Spain
This charming sparkler is dry and delicious, with a lovely color and fruit. As Syron says, it’s “not as spicy or yeasty as traditional cavas, (with) more fruit.” Pair this with anything. Just drink it.

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