Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, some people might say that summer has officially started. Others might insist that It's now officially, unrepentantly, rosé drinking season.
A few weeks ago I threw down the 2010 Rosé Drinking Challenge and gave you four reasons to get over your rosé-phobia and get in line with all the French truck drivers and construction workers who are literally guzzling these wines every single day. Pink wines are just as summery as madras shorts, your favorite pair of flip flops and lazy days at the ball park: They are colorful, versatile and ultimately a kick in the ass to drink. Even better news: There's a rosé made for every wine lover out there.
Read on for the juice on five of 2010's best rosés.
5. Best Porch Pounder Rosé: Charles & Charles Rosé, Volume II 2009 ($13) This is a wine for people who swear they only like "real" rosés, and by "real" they mean French. Even though this wine is made from Syrah grown in largely slept-on eastern Washington state, it's produced in a dry, exacting style even the snootiest Francophile would feel compelled to drink by the liter. Soft, lovely aromas of strawberries and bing cherry lead to more of the same goodness in the glass. Even you're not cool enough to turn up your nose at a wine made by Charles Smith, Food & Wine magazine's top winemaker of 2009 and Charles Bieler, former owner of Chateau Routas in Provence.
4. Best Rosé To Pair With Food: Mulderbosch Rosé 2009 ($11). Even though we're only a few weeks into rosé-drinking season, I've already consumed several bottles of this fantastically delish wine because it's so freakin' perfect with every food I've paired it with. Somehow this Cabernet Sauvignon-based, South African-produced stunner of a wine has won my heart -- and trust me, it'll win yours too. Meal one: jumbo lump crab cakes, heirloom tomatoes and coleslaw -- check. Meal two: Alder-smoked salmon, quinoa pilaf and roasted broccolini topped with Parmesan cheese -- check. Meal three: a juicy lamb burger smeared with goat cheese and cradled with bacon, all on a brioche bun. Shut the front door!
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3. Best Rosé Under $10: Vega Sindoa Rosé 2009 ($9). For those of you who believe that the pursuit of good wine needn't prevent you from investing in your kids' college funds, this is your rosé. Hailing from the Navarro region of Spain, aka the land of fantastic bargain wine finds, the Vega Sindoa is a blend of garnacha (same grape as grenache) and tempranillo. This wine is sassy, fruity, and just plain yummy. Don't let the low price fool you: This is still the real deal. Dried black currant and boysenberry aromas, followed up with juicy strawberries and Fig Newton flavors equal one delish rosé party in your mouth.
2. Best Rosé If You Love Big Red Wines: Crios Rosé of Malbec 2009 ($11). Women winemakers rock. Susanna Balbo is no exception, and has been steadily turning out top-quality Argentinean wines for more than 30 years. Her bone-dry rosé of Malbec is a wonder of refreshment ... raspberry, dried cranberry and ripe plum make for one tasty glass of vino. This wine would be stunning with everything from pulled pork to grilled flank steak with chimichurri. Did someone say "barbecue wine?" Look no further.
1. Best Damn Rosé of 2010, Period: The Infinite Monkey Theorem Rosé ($19). With so many amazing pink wines to choose from, singling out just one as the best in any given year is cause for controversy. Guess what? This is the best rosé of 2010, hands down. Even the color is a revelation - neon pink, with a fuchsia rim, reminding you more than a little bit of a '70s-era Lite Brite set. Aromas of fresh watermelon, cucumber pickle and freshly cut grass are just a teaser; the first sip evokes memories of Jolly Rancher candies, cherry bomb Popsicles and classic Twizzlers. Despite all that fruit, this wine still manages to deliver balanced acidity and a finish that just might last till Labor Day. It's summer in a glass, and the only thing more refreshing would be if you could somehow jump into a barrel of it on a hot July day.
Hooray for rosé!