- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jean-Luc Colombo, Cape Bleu Rose, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2008, $12

Pink is becoming chic. For years, most wine enthusiasts dismissed rose-colored wines as frivolous pop. Many were soft and sugary and tasted something like alcoholic Kool-Aid. Pink, however, is not inherently sweet, and a growing number of savvy wine drinkers are discovering the charms of dry roses. Crisp and refreshing, but with more heft than most white wines, they are a fine choice for warm-weather drinking.

Good dry roses come from many places in the winemaking world, but those from southern France set an international benchmark in terms of style and quality. The hot, dry summers in vineyards near the Mediterranean yield wines that taste of bright red berry fruit enhanced by echoes of lavender, thyme and other Provencal herbs. Those secondary aromas and flavors give these wines genuine complexity, making them exciting to drink.

Jean-Luc Colombo’s “Cape Bleu,” from vineyards near the charming city of Aix en Provence, provides a delicious introduction to French dry rose. Strawberry is the dominant fruit flavor, but the more subtle earthy and herbal notes are what make the wine so much fun to drink. Though it’s fairly light-bodied, don’t be afraid to serve it with hearty fare when the weather turns hot. On a steamy summer evening, a big red wine will taste soupy and sour, while a crisp rose will seem delightfully refreshing.

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