I’m only gonna say this once: Drink more rose

OK, that’s that.

The big shift rose’s persona has to make is to no longer be apologized for, excused, or even urged upon people. Like red or white wine, rose simply (and pinkly) is.

If you associate rose with “blush” or boxes of Riunite, you’re just flat-out wrong and we’re all tired of humoring you. Roses are reasonably priced wines that offer flavor profiles unavailable in reds or whites. Drink it with 65 percent of your with-wine meals between now and Labor Day. After that, come down to 40 percent. Many roses are the perfect crisp/refreshing counterpoint to cold-weather foods.

In tasting 20 or so roses available locally, the enormous revelation was how varied this wine can be – from full-bodied to lean, from soft to raspy, from jammy to earthy. And so the question of whether to drink a rose makes as much sense as whether to drink a red. If you’re interested in wine, explore the full range of what rose can offer, investigating how different ones match with different foods and experiences.

What does seem to set rose apart is a kind of hedonism – an emphasis on deliciousness and joy. With few exceptions, rose does not brood or even contemplate. It just kinda hangs out, maybe in an Adirondack chair, with an immense grin. Like “Lebowski’s” Dude, rose abides.

In parentheses is the name of the particular wine’s Maine distributor, to aid stores in ordering it. Prices may vary, depending on where you shop.

Domaine Le Grand Rouviere, Cotes de Provence Vieilles Vignes 2009, $13 (Devenish). From Provence, the most esteemed source of rose. Lip-smack off the charts. The sleek acidity laced with garrigue (Mediterranean scrub herbs like lavender, thyme, sage) is the star of this show. Please: goat cheese, or anything with lots of garlic.

Laurent Miquel Pere et Fils 2009, $10 (DaVine). Also from the south of France, organically grown. This is a fuller-bodied style, with aspects of watermelon and cherries. Patio time.

Camille Cayran Le Pas de la Beaume Cotes du Rhone 2008, $12 (Nappi). The stunning surprise of the line-up: pale color, cute bird on the label. But the wine? Rip-roaring. Fascinating nose, then peppery and terroir-ish, like traipsing through a muddy, straw-filled farm in your Wellies, loving life. Don’t miss!

Chateau Pesquie Terrasses 2008, $15 (Central). Zippy acid but with a probing richness, begging for grilled veggies but with the heft to hang in for the chicken as it comes off the grill.

Chateau Soucherie Cuvee L’Astree 2009, $17 (Mariner). Minerals, minerals. If you like lying on (or licking) slabs of sun-baked granite, this is your wine. From Loire Valley Cabernet Franc (had me at hello), this is the perfect blade for smoked salmon pasta, or striped bass and grilled fennel.

Librandi Ciro 2008, $12 (National). Deep, deep wine. In many ways the Ciro expresses the imaginative potential of rose – how it can be light-hearted but simultaneously devout and driving. Don’t miss!

Other terrific roses to mention quickly: Crios $10 (Central) – a jammy malbec without the heavy malbec bringdown; Commanderie Peyrassol $19 (Mariner) – spectacular Provencal Ivy Leaguer with flowers and the earth they grew in; Colombo Cape Bleu $11 (Pine State) – harmonious, round, luscious; Enanzo $9 (Wicked) – a floral, life-loving, great-aunt hug of a wine; Quinta da Alorna (National) – bright and aromatic from Portugal, and further testament to the sustaining power of 2008 rose


Joe Appel’s day job is doing a lot of different things at Rosemont Market and Bakery. He can be reached at: [email protected]