Pink rosé wines can be made only with purple grapes, the same types used for making red wines. These dark-colored grapes need more sunshine and heat to ripen than paler green ones, so it makes sense that rosés typically come from warm, sun-drenched regions, such as Provence and the Rhône Valley in the south of France. In recent years, though, a growing number are emerging from considerably cooler zones better known for their white wines, like this zippy pinot noir rosé from Marlborough (a region of New Zealand that is virtually synonymous with sauvignon blanc). This is not a sign of climate change, but rather an indicator that pink wines are finally being taken more seriously by vintners and wine drinkers alike. They may be made from red wine grapes but their flavor profiles more closely resemble those of white wines and can therefore benefit from similar vineyard conditions and winemaking techniques. Most notably, rosé wines that are dry – meaning not at all sweet – taste lighter and brighter when made from red grapes that are slightly underripe at the moment of harvest. This moving target is easier to hit in cooler, cloudier climates, resulting in the mouth-watering tartness and brisk refreshment found here, and in wines that taste more of sour cherries or red currants than they do of sweeter strawberries or watermelon.
Matua Pinot Noir Rosé, Marlborough, New Zealand. $10.99 (regularly $13.99; sale price through May 28). PLCB Item #2054