The guff about Rosé wines is quieting down, but if you are still feeling skeptical, the 2010 Matchbook Rosé of Tempranillo ($10) is a reasonably priced bottle to uncork. Grown in Dunnigan Hills near Sacramento, CA, this particular Rosé is made from a blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, and Malbec grapes, all of which are famous for making full-bodied red wines. The harvested grapes sit in their skins 24 hours to extract some of the bitter tannins and red hue. To retain its sweetness and height-of-the-Summer fruitiness, the blend is bottled and corked early in the fermenting process.
The Rosé is tart and astringent on the nose, like sour cherries, yet its ripe, syrupy watermelon flavor is unexpected. The slightly tannic quality makes it thirst-quenching, particularly on hot Summer days. While the days stretch long into the evenings, sip this Rosé on your patio with a large platter of manchego cheese, olives marinated in crushed red peppers, and Carr's Water Crackers. This wine has me thinking it's never too temprano ("early" in Spanish) for Tempranillo Rosé!
Photo: Susannah Chen