Chow Town

In the pink: The best rosés for summer

A rosé wine is perfect for sipping outdoors.
A rosé wine is perfect for sipping outdoors. .

A rosé by any other name …

… would still smell just as sweet, but the pink wines of yore have given way to drier versions. And while you can still find plenty of California white Zinfandel, most restaurants are focused on rosés from everywhere else, or maybe everywhere.

Winemakers haven’t stopped using Zinfandel grapes, but virtually any red grape can be made into tasty blush wine, so these days you’ll find pink Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, whatever is at hand. The Left Coast offers hundreds, if not thousands, of options; this week my favorites include Bonny Doon ($15), Meyer Family ($18), Simi ($16), St. Supery ($18) and Tablas Creek ($25).

France’s Provence has represented the pinnacle of pink for decades. You can find plenty of delightful southern French rosés around town; among the best are Domaine Tempier ($30), Mirabeau ($17) and Jean Luc Colombo’s Cape Bleue ($14).

Only slightly farther inland, rosé makers include Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel ($20), Mas de Dames ($21) and Perrin Cotes du Rhone ($12). Of course, Hollywood’s favorite ex-couple Brangelina make a rosé called Miraval that I could mention here, but don’t they get enough PR on their own?

The rest of Europe has delightful versions, too, and with no Tinseltown connections. Spain seems particularly reliant on the style it calls rosado: Izadi ($11), Marques de Caceres ($12), Muga ($17) and Vivanco ($16) are all quaffable.

Italy has Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa ($20), Pelissero Rosato ($18), Scarpetta Sparkling Rosé ($18) and Valle Reale Cerasuolo Rosato ($16). There’s a lightly sparkling version from Germany called Fritz Muller Secco Rosé ($17), and the great von Buhl makes one, too ($16).

Most of these are fun and fruity, while some, like Oregon’s Antica Terra ($60), have more serious ambitions of depth, aromas of place and even age-worthiness. But for most, the longest rosé needs to last is the time it takes to pour it in your glass on the patio.

Doug Frost is a Kansas City-based wine and spirits writer and consultant. He is one of only four people in the world to have earned the titles of master sommelier and master of wine. He contributes a wine column for The Kansas City Star’s Chow Town section and blog.