A pink picnic

Ros頩s not simply diluted red wine; it is made by leaving the skins of black grapes (most grape pigment is in the skin, not the juice) in contact with the fermenting juice long enough to achieve the desired amount of color. The grapes are then pressed off, and the pink wine is rushed to the marketplace to be enjoyed at its youngest, freshest, and coolest. Here are my favorites, and an accompaniment or two: '98 Domaine Tempier Ros鼯B> (about $23)—From the area in the south of France between Marseille and Toulon known as Bandol. For me, this is the benchmark ros鬠although some would argue that Tavel in the Southern Rhone has the history. Dry, wonderfully fresh, slightly peppery, this wine rejuvenates the soul after a day in the dusty, gritty vineyards. Drink with bouillabaisse, or Bchette de Banon, the fresh goat's milk cheese of the region. '98 Chinook Cabernet Franc Ros鼯B> (about $13)—Eastern Washington winemaker Kay Simon has produced her first ros鬠a delightful, very limited bottling, made from the earlier ripening cabernet franc. With aromas of fresh strawberries and black pepper, this wine cries out for Rollingstone's ch趲e torta with Italian strawberries. In Spain ros頢ecomes rosado, and two of the best are distinctly different: '98 Chivite Gran Feudo Rosado (about $8): From the Navarra region close to Spain's Basque country, this citrus-dominated wine is produced from garnacha (grenache) in a bone-dry fashion. '97 Marques de Caceres Rosado (about $7): The tempranillo grown in La Rioja gives this wine its scent of fresh raspberries. Cook up the paella, turn up the Gipsy Kings, and pray for heat!

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