Get in the pink this summer

When the weather heats up, rosés are so appealing.

Fresh and fruity, dry and crisp, lightly sweet — great on their own or with food or as the base for sangria, this versatile wine style should not be overlooked.

Only red wine grape varieties can be made into rosés — also called blush wines. Their light color and light to medium body come from limited contact, usually one to three days, between the red grape skins and the clear juice. Colors can range from light pink to salmon to bright red, depending on the duration of skin-juice contact and the base grape varietal(s).

Almost any red grape varietal can be made into rosé, but some of the more typical varieties include Zinfandel (White Zinfandel), Grenache, Carignane, Syrah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

Rosés are popular in Provence, where they are almost all bone-dry, but they are made all over the world. Perhaps the most popular blush wine in the U.S. is Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel, which is on the sweet side.

Generally, rosés are lower in alcohol than red wines and are floral with lavender and rose petals, and resplendent with red fruit, such as cherry, strawberry, watermelon and cranberry. They tend to be easy on the budget and are meant to be consumed while they are young and fresh.

”]Here are some rosés that might make your summer picnic or lounge time even more pleasant:

2016 Tenuta dell’ Ammiraglia Alie Rosé ($18)

Produced in the heart of the coastal Maremma region of Tuscany, Alie Rose is a blend of Syrah (98 pecent) and Vermentino (2 percent). This wine is immediately pressed off the skins and blended with no maceration. It sees four months in stainless steel and one month in bottle. The wine is elegant and refined, pale in color with subtle peach notes.

2016 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé ($13)

Made using 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, this South African rosé is made in a richer, more flavorful style than its more delicate counterparts from Provence. Sweet watermelon flavors, floral aromas and refreshing mineral notes combine with a savory quality and fresh acidity.

2016 Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses Rosé ($14)

This blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah from Languedoc along France’s Mediterranean coast has mineral nuances from the hard limestone and schist soils with delicate rose petals, orange peel and grapefruit on the nose and palate.

2016 Acquiesce Grenache Rosé, Lodi ($24)

Light strawberry nose with watermelon and lime on the palate, this dry rose pairs with most any food and is great to sip outside on the patio.

2016 Markus Zeal, Lodi ($22)

This blend of Syrah (64 percent) and Carignane (36 percent) is winemaker Markus Niggli’s tribute to the hard-working vineyard crews of South Africa where he used to work. Watermelon, tangy grapefruit and strawberries are up front on the nose and palate, with a mineral-driven mid-palate, leading to a soft, creamy finish.

Some time this summer, catch the view from behind rosé-colored glasses.

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      Bob Highfill

      Record Sports Editor Bob Highfill is a wine enthusiast and has earned Level 3 certification with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust of London through the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Bob will share some of his experiences from his travels to Lodi and other prime wine locales in his blog and welcomes your suggestions, reviews and wine speak.
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