Pretty in pink 

Every spring, restaurateurs faithfully add the dry wines to their by-the-glass lists, hoping customers will respond to the warmer weather and order a lighter version of their favorite reds.

It doesn’t always happen. In spite of the love rosé gets from critics, restaurateurs and the French, the category has struggled for success in the U.S.

It wasn’t helped by the confusion created by ubiquitous blushes under the name of white Zinfandel or white Merlot, which are nothing like rosé. Where those wines are high in sugar and low on tannins, good rosé maintains all the structure of its predominant grape.

“Rosé is very food-friendly,” said Alex Kroblin, co-owner of Thirst Wine Merchants, which represents more rosés than any other broker in the state. “It pairs well with summer foods, and it’s delicious. Also, it’s one-third to one-half the price of the red wines made from the same grape.”

Raptor Ridge rosé, made from Pinot Noir, is one of Kroblin’s wines. There are more Pinot-based rosés in the metro this year than ever before.

The Raptor Ridge is light and tart with excellent red fruit flavors. It’s available by the glass at The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro, 6418 N. Western.

Another Pinot-based rosé is A to Z.

The color on this one is striking, as is the taste. Full, red fruit, light acid and good structure make it great for the patio, poolside or cookout in summer.

Kroblin said rosé represents the best of both worlds: the flavor of a red wine with the body of a white. That lighter body makes a difference in the hotter months, when reds can seem heavy and overpowering.

“Rosé is cool and refreshing,” Kroblin said. “In the summer months, the best advice is, ‘Beat the heat: Drink pink.’” Rosés made from Syrah can be somewhat heavier than their Pinot counterparts, but Meyer Rosé is light and delicate. It features grapefruit, strawberry and lemon in a light body.

Warm this one close to room temperature to get all the amazing flavors. It’s available at Broadway Wine Merchants, 824 N. Broadway, and The Mantel, 201 E. Sheridan.

Rosé also is available in sparkling wines, and West, 6714 N. Western, has a delicious and affordable example: Domaine Saint Vincent, the second label from New Mexico-based Gruet Winery. It’s brand-new in the state and beverage director Andy Dixon added it as soon as he tried it. It’s light and refreshing, with solid red fruit flavors and zippy acid.

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Greg Horton

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