Think pink with dry rosé

Spring is upon us, and summer is just a few weeks away. Just like the change of seasons, it’s time to sing the praise of dry rosé.

Almost every year for the eight years of this column, dry rosé has been featured a time or two in warm weather. The column usually starts with a disclaimer that these pinks are not sweet but rather dry, satisfying and delicious wines.

Rosé is one of the greatest porch-sipping wines of summer. But good dry rosé also is a great food wine and is spectacular with seafood.

The wine is diverse in that it’s made around the world and made with many different grapes. Breaking it down in the simplest of terms, red wine gets its color when the juice is left in contact with the purple skins. Rosé gets its signature pink color from greatly less time mingling with its own skin.

There are so many to choose from, but I strongly recommend two in particular. First are the rosé wines from Pinot Noir. Many of the great Oregon Pinot Noir labels are now making a rosé. More and more California wineries are adding a pink wine to their lineup, as well.

Instead of a laundry list of recommended wines, I’ll offer up just two. The first is Martin Ray rosé of Pinot Noir. The Sonoma Russian River Valley wine is one of the best examples you’ll find of the Pinot version. It’s very reasonably priced at $15 or $16 and can be found in better wine shops.

The other recommendation is Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel” rosé from Provence, France.

Provence, in the south of France, is often considered home of the holy grail — the world’s best rosé wines. Most of those wines are made of various blends of Grenache, Cinsaut, Syrah, Mourvèdre and a local grape, Tibouren.

The first release of Whispering Angel was in 2007 with approximately 150,000 bottles. Rosé sales and consumption in the U.S. continue to have remarkable growth year after year. The 2016 production of Whispering Angel alone has exploded to more than 4.5 million bottles.

Good, drinkable Provence rosé can be found at $12 to $18. But Whispering Angel, at about $20 and several others under $30, really show off the best of Provence. Another great Provence producer is Domaine d’Ott.

Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes about wine every other week. Contact Hewitt at [email protected].