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Ros� (ro-zay) — not to be confused with white zinfandel — is the perfect summer wine. While its pink color leads some to believe that it is the product of a similarly colored grape, it is actually the liquid result of the lightest pressings of a red grape. An unfortunate physical resemblance to white zinfandel (more wine product than wine, as one critic once remarked) is probably the reason ros� hasn’t enjoyed the same accelerated popularity in the U.S. as, say, Chardonnay or even Sauvignon Blanc. In France the favored varietals are Grenache, Cinsaut and Gamay and in Italy it is Grignolino, but what these grapes share is a high yield and the ability to produce delicate ros�s that are at once dry and fruity. The best French ros�s come from Anjou in central France, the southern Rhone (Tavel) and, further south, from Provence (Cassis, Bandol). Here in California, several winemakers have been producing Grenache-based ros�s such as Joseph Phelps’ “Vin de Mistral,” which is 100 percent Grenache, and Bonny Doon’s “Vin Gris De Cigare,” which is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsaut. Both are moderately priced and readily available at most wine stores. As a food wine, ros� is a likely match for almost anything from soft shelled crab to beer battered shrimp, and, of course, the ubiquitous turkey sandwich. No barbecue is complete without ros� — in fact no battle against summer heat, or heated discussion of the energy crisis (also ubiquitous) is effective without the cool mediating force of a crisp ros�.

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