Grenache Grapes

It’s summer and time for those lovely pink wines, dry rosés (not White Zinfandel!). The French consume more rosé than white wine and Americans have been catching on. Wine stores are stocking a wide variety to choose from, ranging from pale pink to deep rose in color. Rosés are fun to drink and perfect for summer because they go with a wide variety of foods and you don’t need to worry much about vintage, label, etc.

Among my favorites is Domaine Houchart Rosé from Provence, France.  The wine is a lovely salmon color made from 5 grape varietals, primarily Grenache and Syrah.  It is crisp and fresh, full bodied and loaded with dark red fruit flavors.  You should be able to find this wine for under $14 per bottle.  Enjoy it as an aperitif or with shellfish, chicken, or light cheeses.  Domaine Houchart is an elegant super star among rosés – you will love it and so will your friends.

Another of the French wines I purchase frequently is from the Rhone Valley, Château de Campuget.  This wine is slightly deeper in color, aromatic, and full of red fruit. It is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache grapes. Nicely balanced, it is delightful on its own or paired with lighter dishes.  This wine typically retails in the $10 range.

A third rosé, which is completely different from the previous two, is Starmont Rosé from the Napa Valley.  Starmont is a bold blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec.  As you might expect from this blend of grapes, the wine is a brilliant ruby red with bold citrus notes and aromas of strawberries.  Somewhat fruitier than the French wines, Starmont is not quite as food friendly and works well as an aperitif or with salads or cheeses.  This wine should be available in the $10-$12 range.

Pack a picnic basket or head out to your porch or patio and enjoy a lovely glass or bottle of rosé with your favorite summer foods.