Now that summer is almost over, you might find yourself longing for another hot and lazy afternoon in the hammock, a chilled glass of wine at the ready, instead of your now-harried schedule of before and after-school chauffeuring and parent-teacher meetings. Fret not; there are plenty of warm-weather weekends where you can pretend you're still carefree. But instead of your summer standby chardonnay, be adventurous and try a tasty rosé to usher in a spectacular autumn sunset.
Rosés can come in many styles, not just the super-sweet versions that cause some people to cradle their heads in fear of sugar overdose. Whether they are made from Pinot Noir, Grenache, Sangiovese or Cabernet Franc, they're often refreshing, sometimes with soaring notes of lemon and strawberries, grapefruit and white pepper, or roses and raspberries. And get this: most are fruity but dry. Think of them as the best of both worlds: red with glorious berry flavors, and white, giving thirst-quenching cool temperatures.
Although there are two methods for making rosé, the well-regarded method is when red grapes are only kept in contact with the skins for abbreviated periods of time—typically from eight to 48 hours. Skins give wines their color, so usually the less time, the lighter the color. The less-preferred method blends a bit of finished red wine into already fermented white wine. The wine's body and shade of pink will depend on the grape variety, ripeness and the length of maceration after crush.
Countries that make exceptional rosés include France (look to the regions of Provence, Languedoc and the Loire Valley), Spain, South Africa and the United States. These wines may also be referred to as Saignée (French for "to bleed"), Vin Gris ("gray wine") or, less often, blush.
Just like any wine, there will be rosés you like and ones you like less. Give several a try, and you may be surprised at what you find. If you're already a fan, keep up the good work. When looking for a rosé in your favorite local shop, keep in mind that the younger the wine, the better it will be. Although there are exceptions to the rule, most rosés should be drunk within two to three years. After that, they tend to lose some of the beautiful fruit and can even turn sour.
Don't think pink wine is just for warm weather, however. It tastes good all year long. Plus, it can remind you of warmer days on a chilly, rainy afternoon. And it's definitely not just for women. Manly men shouldn't be afraid to sport a glass because, after all, women appreciate men who know their stuff.
Specific recommendations include the Marqués de Cáceres Rosado (~$8), Goats do Roam Rosé (~$10), Bonny Doon Big House Pink (~$10), SoloRosa California Rosé (~$15) and Folie a Deux Menage a Trois Rosé (~$9). As you can see, they are not too expensive, so feel free to explore.