- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Etude, Rose of Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2008, $20

Though rose wines made with pinot noir often play second fiddle to those crafted with grenache or syrah, this particular example is a knockout. While it does not offer the whiff of dried thyme and lavender associated with those southern French grapes, it more than compensates with beautifully expressive fruit flavors and a compelling floral bouquet.

I’ve sampled a lot of roses this summer, and none has outperformed it.

Etude is a California winery that specializes in pinot noir. The vintners working there know how to treat this fickle grape variety with appropriate care, and they make expressive but also elegant wines. This rose is every bit as graceful as their (more expensive) reds. It displays true varietal character, meaning cherry fruit flavor enhanced by hints of spice. Being pink, however, it has virtually no tannins. Instead, the wine offers refreshing, citruslike acidity and so is extremely refreshing to drink.

Perhaps because roses almost always should be drunk young, it is tempting to think of them as somehow less serious than red wines. One sip of this will disprove that notion. Try it with cedar-planked salmon, grilled tuna or chicken. Perfect for al fresco, warm-weather meals, it also should provide delicious drinking through the fall.

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