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Rose wines to pop open for spring or anytime

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Published : 2017-05-19 11:46
Updated : 2017-05-19 11:46

It seems almost unfair to rose to start thinking about it, and talking about it, and looking for it when spring comes around. Then again, how many of us think about turkey and stuffing outside of November? Or corned beef and cabbage outside of March? No one is stopping you from planning those meals on any day of the year, calendar be damned. Yet you don‘t. At least most of you don’t.

Did my college roommates and I cook up an entire traditional Thanksgiving dinner one spring semester? Sure we did. But we were young, and mentally energetic, and empowered by the awesome possibility that lay before us. And sick of instant ramen.

That full feast, even just the thought of it before we went shopping for the ingredients, brought about a wave of hope and anticipation that I can still recall. That‘s the kind of power spring has. A golden-brown, 20-pound turkey has a similar power, yes, but I think there’s more power in this season -- the birth or reawakening of so many living things around us.

Pink fits this time of year perfectly -- pink and green. (Thing is, I generally try to avoid drinking anything that is green.) I encourage people to drink rose all year long, to not confine their consumption only to spring and summer. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with getting your rose run started when the Northern Hemisphere blinks itself awake in the spring. Gotta start somewhere. The longest journey begins with a single sip.

With lower amounts of alcohol and tannin, high acidity and loads of bright fruit, it is hard to go wrong with a few bottles of nice rose on hand. If the imbibers in your life have eyes for aesthetics, they will also appreciate the beauty that rose brings to your table. They‘re not all dusty pink and blushing, as you know; some of them are closer to candy apple red.

But they are all fun. Even the serious ones are fun -- like a dentist who dresses up in a costume on Halloween. Say, there is another thing you don’t think of doing throughout the year. But think about how much fun you have when you actually do sport that get-up of yours and show up at a party full of ghouls, nurses and visual puns. There‘s your excuse to plan a non-Halloween costume party in the middle of summer (or winter). And you might as well stock the bar with some pink wine while you’re at it.

Below are notes from a recent tasting of roses from around the world. They are listed in ascending order according to price.


2016 Faisao Vinho Verde Rose. With strawberry, raspberry, orange blossom, lively acidity and a refreshing spritz, this Portuguese wine had a clean, crisp finish and a friendly 10.5 percent alcohol. $8

2016 Mont Gravet Rose. From the South of France, this 100 percent cinsault was floral with raspberry, pear, lime and citrus, plus a lingering finish, and 12 percent alcohol. $9

2016 Cline Family Cellars Ancient Vines Mourvedre Rose. Pink grapefruit aromas jumped from this glass, and led to peach, cherry and zippy acidity. From California’s Contra Costa County. $13

2016 Mulderbosch Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Rose. Savory herbs and minerality segued into floral notes, plus raspberry and other red fruits. From the Coastal Region of South Africa. $13

2016 S. Pratsch Rose. This organic Austrian wine from zweigelt grapes opened with strawberries, peach, anise and zingy acidity, and then came full circle for a long-lingering strawberry finish. $13

2016 Piazza del Castello. From Italy‘s Tuscany region and made of 100 percent sangiovese, this wine offered peach, kiwi, clean tropical fruits and a bright, crisp finish. $14

2016 Steele Cabernet Franc Rose. Intensely aromatic and packed with ripe raspberry, strawberry and citrus, this wine from Lake County, Calif., had a vibrant electric-red hue, like diluted Campari. $15

2016 Feudo Maccari Rose. Made of 100 percent nero d’avola grapes, this wine from Sicily offered strawberry, cherry, lime, peach and 12 percent alcohol. $16

2016 Leyda Rose. Black cherry, strawberry, spice, zingy acidity and a long finish sum up this 100 percent pinot noir from Chile‘s Leyda Valley, 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. $16

2016 Tournon Mathilda. Earthy notes join bright, clean raspberry and cranberry in this crisp, refreshing, easy-to-drink pale grenache with spice on the finish. Made in Australia by French winemaker Michel Chapoutier. $16

2016 Castello di Bossi Rosato. This 70 percent sangiovese/30 percent cabernet sauvignon Tuscan blend offered mouth-watering red fruits, a touch of salinity, bright acidity and a formidable 13.5 percent alcohol. $18

2016 Figuiere Magali. Peach, lime, strawberry, orange zest, minerality and tangy acidity sum up this blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, grenache and cinsault from France’s Cotes de Provence. $18

2016 Gamble Family Vineyards Rose. Luscious strawberry, apple, anise and spice all mingled in this lip-smacking, long-finishing Napa Valley blend of mostly cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. $20

2016 Sidebar Rose. This 100 percent syrah from Sonoma County‘s Russian River Valley offered an intriguing mix of hay, fennel, floral notes, dried cherries, stone fruits and zingy acidity. $21

2016 Donelan Rose. Strawberry, cherry, anise, bright acidity and a clean, crisp finish characterized this Sonoma County blend of grenache, syrah, mourvedre and pinot noir, plus 13.8 percent alcohol. $25

2016 Inman Family Endless Crush Rose of Pinot Noir. With floral and herbal notes, plus strawberry, watermelon and anise, this Russian River Valley beauty was as mouth-watering as it was refreshing. $35

By Michael Austin
Chicago Tribune

(Tribune Content Agency)