Cheap Wine That Doesn't Suck



The rosés of France's Cotes du Rhone region are what most rosés from other parts of the world want to be when they grow up. Crisp, refreshing, with aromas and flavors of freshly picked fruit yet as dry as Gore Vidal's wit, Cotes du Rhone pinks have nothing whatsoever in common with such abominations as White Zinfandel and similar kinds of pastel swill. 

Luckily, vintners from other places are ditching the icky-sweet stuff and getting hip to the bright, clean, fruity-but-not-fruit-bomb-y character of CduR rosés. One of them--Artisan Family of Wines in the Napa Valley--has even sent a winking acknowledgment of the mecca for rosé fanciers with their 2008 Red Cote Rosé. 

It's only the second vintage of this quite delightful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah, whose aromas suggest a strawberry milkshake and flavors a big glass of strawberry juice infused with red apple and a few squeezes of lemon and lime. It's fruitier than its Cote du Rhone counterparts, with a touch of residual sugar. But it still finishes pleasantly dry and would play well with anything from spicy pork tacos to Hunan chicken. 

At around 12 bucks a bottle it's not the cheapest rosé on the market but it's a grown-up that's worth every penny.


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Bill Citara