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4 Sizzling Roses for the Fourth

Robert Whitley on

Fireworks needn't be the only sizzle in your Fourth of July celebration this week. You can bring a bit of sparkle to the party with a crisp, dry rose wine long before the pyrotechnics begin.

Everyone will thank you because few adult beverages are as refreshing on a hot summer day. That's only one of the reasons dry roses are suddenly changing minds and winning fans. The other is a dramatically improved product.

As demand for dry rose has grown throughout the U.S. in recent years, more top producers have hopped aboard the bandwagon, resulting in greater selection and better wines. I suggest four for the Fourth.

Sonoma-Cutrer is a case in point. Long known for its exquisite chardonnay and pinot noir, Sonoma-Cutrer has trained its guns on a dry rose made from Russian River Valley pinot noir. The most recent vintage, 2018, earned a platinum award and a score of 94 points at the Critics Challenge International Wine Competition in June (retail price: $23).

It was barely nudged out of best-of-show honors by the 2018 Fleur de Mer Rose from the Cotes de Provence AOP in the south of France ($20). Both are superb examples of the genre, with lively though subtle fruit aromas and crisp acidity.

And back in April, two California wineries, Navarro and Etude, best known for aromatic whites and elegant pinot noir, respectively, scored big at the San Diego International Wine Challenge with rose of pinot noir.

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The Etude ($22) captured best-of-show honors with a rose from Santa Barbara County, and the Navarro ($22) scored a gold medal with a beautiful rose from Mendocino's Anderson Valley.

What they all deliver is a zesty, refreshing warm-weather beverage option that is modestly priced and widely distributed throughout the U.S. This Fourth of July, bring your own fireworks; bring a great rose.

Best Value

Wines are rated on a 100-point scale. Wines are chosen for review because they represent outstanding quality or value, and the scores are simply a measure of this reviewer's enthusiasm for the recommended wine.


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