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Wine Review: Rose fans spoiled for choice

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I have been writing about wine for over 30 years, and I never remember so large a number of rose selections in the marketplace as there are today.

Once, rose beverages were more of a novelty wine, but they now appear to have captured the fancy of the American wine buying public in a very big way.

Just FYI, today’s rose wines are not simply some red wine mixed with white wine to produce a friendly color. A true rose wine is made by crushing red grapes and removing the skins as soon as possible after crushing, thus preventing them from coloring the wine. The juice is then fermented as a white grape wine to preserve the more delicate flavors and aromas. For those of you who are ecology-minded, the red skins are not just discarded; they are recycled. The spent skins are returned to the vineyard as fertilizer or used to deepen the color of other red wines and then recycled.

Fleur de Mer Rose 2018 Cote de Provence ($17)
The best translation of the name Fleur de Mer is “flower of the sea.” If that alone doesn't pique your interest, nothing will. The rose wines of the Cote de Provence region have been treasured since Roman times and many ancient aristocrats owned personal vineyards there. The 2018 Fleur de Mer displays an inviting salmon pink color and a wispy aroma of peaches, pears and red summer fruits that carry on to a delightful finish. The flavor stresses summer berries but in light refined amounts. This wine, as with any rose, should be served slightly chilled and will go well with spicy foods, Asian and Pacific Rim specialties and, of course, French cuisine.

Edna Valley Vineyard 2018 Rose ($12)
This wine is more in line with the classical French style, but it is not a knockoff as the grapes differ with tempranillo, syrah, grenache and mourvedre presented in this selection. The Edna Valley Vineyard 2018 Rose presents an inviting salmon pink color and the aroma of peaches, pears and red summer fruits. The flavor stresses summer berries but in light and refined amounts. This is a wine of quality and finesse.

Prophecy 2018 Rose ($14)
This is another French rose that is, to say the least, very obviously French. The wine presents a soft aroma of rose petals intertwining with a hint of strawberry. The flavor reprises the aroma with the addition of peaches and raspberries that follow through to the finish. All in all, French wines do have a characteristic that is different than our domestic rose wines. That is not to say one is better than the other. If you have never experienced a true French rose, the Prophecy 2018 Rose is an excellent starting point.

Sunseeker 2018 Rose ($15)
I saved this one for last because it is a very interesting wine. Composed from a compendium of California grapes, this wine was designed rather than just made. The winemakers took the time and effort to craft a wine that can exemplify the rose style. The color of the Sunseeker 2018 is much deeper and darker than most other rose wines and stands out with its bottle that does not have a label. All of the necessary information is printed directly on to the bottle, making it easy to see the wine inside before you buy. The flavor and aroma are as big and obvious as the color, stressing strawberries and raspberries. The finish is long and enjoyable. This wine can accompany almost anything and is a great escape valve if you are not sure what wine to serve with dinner. I found this to be a wine that is easy to drink, enjoyable and an excellent buy for the money.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at frojhe1@att.net.

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