Just because summer's winding down to its inevitable end doesn't mean that your rosé-filled days (and evenings) have to. Even if you aced this year's rosé-drinking challenge with flying colors and have flown through cases of the five best rosés of summer 2010, no need to remove those rosé-colored glasses just yet. In fact, late summer and fall's harvest bounty of gorgeous fruit and veggies are the perfect foil for rosé's kinda-sweet, kinda-dry flavor profile. So fire up the grill or just curl up on your barcalounger and get acquainted with any of these supremely drinkable pinks:
1. Pere Ventura Cava Rosé ($16): You've read this here before, and you'll likely read it again: The only thing better in life than bubbles is rosé-colored bubbles. While the typically pricey rosé Champagnes are clearly splurge-worthy of special occasions, the only occasion required to uncork this gem is one in which you find yourself thirsty. This wine will remind you of a bowl of strawberry shortcakes topped with freshly whipped cream; it's fruity, yeasty, and luscious all at the same time. In fact, you might want to actually pair this wine with that exact dessert and get ready to fall into a swoon.
2. ZaZa Garnacha Rosé 2009 ($9): Don't let the frivolous name fool you -- this is one seriously good rosé. It starts with the color -- a beautiful dark fuchsia -- and just gets better from there. If you enjoy a heartier glass of red, you'll love this rosé, which offers mouthful after mouthful of ripe cherry and raspberry fruitiness. In fact, this would be the perfect rosé to drink all the way into fall; hell, maybe all the way to Thanksgiving, thanks in large part to its delightfully refreshing cranberry Jell-O (think tart and sweet all at the same time) goodness.
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3. Domino de Eguren Protocolo Rosado 2008 ($7): For years, both the Protocolo blanco (a blend of airen and macabeo) and rojo (tempranillo) wines have made quite a name for themselves among savvy wine drinkers who feel completely confident in the notion that wines under ten dollars can be just as satisfying as wines costing three times that amount. Protocolo's rosé of tempranillo is no exception, going toe-to-toe with spendier bottles of the pink stuff and more than holding its own. A porch-pounder in the best possible way, the wine features a pitch-perfect acid-to-fruit balance and is reminiscent of a basket of farmers' market cherries. The only thing that might disappoint you about this wine is that you didn't buy a case of it when you had the chance.
4. Falset Rosé Montsant 2007 ($8): Another garnacha, you ask? When it tastes as good as the Falset does, the answer is unapologetically yes. The more salient question to ask is how this version of the grenache grape tastes completely different than the ZaZa - because this wine tastes of berry jam and offers hints of citrusy minerality. Like all rosés, this one is unbelievably food-friendly, pairing wonderfully with everything from hummus to hamburgers.
5. Charles Joguet Chinon Rosé 2009 ($18): There have been many, many rosés to adore this summer, and this was certainly one of the best. The region of Chinon, in the Loire valley, is known for making some of the world's best cabernet franc, so it only follows that this rosé made from the same grape is truly remarkable. This is no girly pink wine: It's everything you expect from cab franc (serious fruit backed with herbaceous qualities), plus it's got a gorgeous mouthfeel to boot.
Rosé season is almost over. Drink up while there's still time!