- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bonny Doon, Vin Gris de Cigare, California, 2005, $13

This wine confounds expectations. Even though it’s pink, it’s dry. And even though it’s from California, it tastes for all the world like a good rose from Provence. Given its reasonable price tag, it’s an excellent choice for warm-weather sipping.

Pink wines have fallen out of favor in America, largely due to the mistaken perception that they have to be sappy and sweet. But dry wines in that color can be some of the best wines in any hue for summer drinking.

They’re made primarily from dark-skinned grapes (in this case grenache, mourvedre and syrah) but spend less time in contact with the tannic grape skins. As a result, they’re only lightly colored, and even more important, not at all astringent.

In addition to the juice from the dark grapes, the winemakers at Bonny Doon add some white wine (grenache blanc and roussanne) to the blend. This gives the finished pink wine a fairly rich texture, making it even more versatile at the supper table.

Tasting of fresh red berries, with a hint of dried herbs, this wine will pair well with a wide variety of foods — everything from grilled fish to main-course salads, and roast chicken to summer soup. (It would be great with gazpacho.)

A good pink wine made in this sort of dry, refreshing style is just the thing to choose when a white wine seems too light and a red too heavy.

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