I’ll admit it: I love pink wine. The first time my dad, a wine snob, heard this news he rolled his eyes. But what my old-school father didn’t realize was that rosé is one of the most food-friendly wines out there. Not quite a red, not quite a white, it has an undeserved negative reputation in the wine world.
With a little convincing you will fall in love. Rosé, French for "pink" or "rose-colored," is almost always made from red grapes. Almost any red grape can be used but you’ll usually see Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Pinot Noir. What makes it different from other wine is the winemaking process: the skins are removed from the grapes within two to three days, which gives the wine its light pink color. (But it's also why rosés lack the body of most red wines; the tannins are in the skins.)
Rosés are dry—yes, dry—with fresh strawberry and raspberry flavors. The French regions of Tavel (Rhône Valley) and Anjou (Loire Valley), and Provence are known for their rosé, but California, Spain, Italy, Australia, and South Africa are in the game, too. They're meant to be drunk pronto, so don't stash them in your cellar for more than a couple of months.
One final tip before you head to the wine store: these days the term "vin gris" is used almost interchangeably with rosé, although historically there is a difference. But beware: rosé and vin gris are not the same as blush wine, which usually refers to the super-sweet American White Zinfandels that are made using a different method.
Rosé is the best pick for summer – it's easy, it's breezy, and the best pick those evenings when it’s just too hot for red wine. The only rule to remember is to serve them slightly chilled. It’s also the lazy man’s wine pairing friend: French, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Chinese take-out: virtually every dish (save chocolate cake) pairs perfectly with a bottle of rosé. And what makes me love them even more is the recession-friendly price tag – you can find a delicious bottle starting around $8. Buy a few from different regions and see what you like – and sip the summer away. I’m happy to say that my dad is almost converted, but I don’t care; it just means more wine for me.