The foods of late summer should be all about ease—throw something on the grill, pluck something fresh from the garden or farmers market, and keep the menu simple. In late summer, few wines match that easygoing attitude better than a crisp rosé. Its playful pink color says, “let’s have some fun,” while the bright red-fruit flavors bring the refreshment you seek as temperatures climb.
Chill them well, and serve them with grilled chicken and pork, as well as grilled rich fish such as salmon and tuna. Rosés also make a great apéritif—serve them with a platter of olives and cured meats (such as prosciutto) to kick off the evening simply and beautifully.
Recommended bottles include:
Hecht & Bannier Languedoc Rosé ($12): Beams of tropical fruits make the red fruits shine even brighter in this great South-of-France blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault.
Clayhouse Adobe Pink (Central Coast, California; $13): Strawberries and cream—with a touch of vanilla—may come to mind as you sip this soave blend of Mouvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah.
Monmousseau Rosé d’Anjou (France; $13): This is happy-go-lucky pick is for those who like a fruitier style of rosé—but still seek juicy, red-berry refreshment. It’s a pleasure-seeker’s pink, meant for picnics and porch-swings.
Centine 2010 (Tuscany, Italy; $10): Made from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, this brilliantly crisp and unmistakably dry rosé is a food-friendly find for your most vibrant summer salads.
E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rosé (France; $18): Find French elegance at a moderate price in this Grenache- and Cinsault-based rosé. Enjoy the zip of raspberries and red currants balanced by a firm, round mouth-feel.
Wine by Joe “José’s Rosé” Rosé Wine (Oregon; $12): Great Pinot Noirs come from Oregon, and this rosé, made mostly from Pinot Noir, does the state proud, too. Savor a light, tangy core of red-berry fruit, further brightened with hints of fresh lemon zest.
—By Wini Moranville, Relish wine columnist