Now that pink wine does not need to be apologized for, now that everyone knows the “blush” wines and white zins of yesteryear bear no resemblance to today’s good, dry rosés, we can talk about the ones that are interesting.

Interesting rosé tastes like something other than a white or a red wine. That sounds obvious, but so much pink wine presents as a white that has had a bit of watermelon or strawberry essence added to it. That’s my complaint about far too many wines in what is rosé’s most market-friendly category: cinsault-heavy southern French rosés, usually from the geographically vague, but it’s got that magic word in its name, Côtes de Provence.

At the other end, there are darker rosés – often Spanish rosados (or “claretes”) from garnacha and tempranillo or Italian rosatos from native southern varietals – that taste like overripe pinot noirs lightened by a couple tablespoons of lemon juice.

The nice thing about such generic-tasting rosé, when it’s well made (which is often), is that it seems ideal for our current cultural and culinary moment.

First of all, unless you’re afflicted by a debilitating degree of machismo, a glass of rosé instantly signifies – to the eye, to the tongue – luxury and contentment without a high price. It’s an approachable, non-oppressing indulgence.

Alcohol is usually on the low end and a quenching sort of acidity presents, so you can go on drinking it, with or without foods of various kinds. It’s great with most cheeses that haven’t aged very long, fish, salads, platters of dips and spreads, salumi, olives, anchovy pizza. It offers glimpses of red wine’s beloved traits – tannin, depth of fruit, viscosity – without allowing these to intrude on its primary purpose, which is to refresh.

Lastly, decent dry rosé doesn’t demand much intellectually. I’m sure that no matter how much you’re already into pink wines, you don’t know as much about any of their cépage (blend of grapes) or region as you would deem useful if the wine were white or red. You’re probably guided mostly by a certain color – light pink sells, dark doesn’t – and that’s it.

For what seemed like an eternity, the general disparagement of rosé was so maddeningly inexplicable and so widespread that my first reaction would be to make sure the pink wine I put in someone’s hands was innocuous. Other wine professionals I know, in retail and restaurants, have similar recollections of their behavior.

The assumption latent in how we promoted rosé was usually, This person is clearly very sensitive and believes that wine must look a certain way regardless of how it tastes, and rosé is so dangerous it’s probably against the law to serve in some states, so Do No Harm. In other words, hand someone a bottle containing a wine that is neither red nor white, make sure it’s got a squeeze of acidity and a dash of fruit, don’t let it have too much flavor, be sure that if the drinker were blindfolded they’d think it a white. It should cost $9.99.

Also like others, I often explain rosé as a white wine made from red-wine grapes. That is, red grapes are crushed but the skins are left in contact with the pulp for just a few hours, rather than the days or weeks they would take to tint a wine red, after which a white-wine vinification takes place.

Some of the character of red wine comes through: red fruit flavors, especially, and a rounder mouthfeel. Other factors of a red – prominent tannin, earthiness, weight – are usually left behind.

This pithy characterization is useful for showing that rosé exists on a spectrum from white to red, rather than being some weird, artificial-seeming third category. But the pithiness seems no longer so necessary, since 2014 happened and then 2015 happened.

Momentum had been building – people were drinking rosé in public before the past two summers – but still, the exponential rise of rosé-drinking recently has been shocking. Especially in 2015, rosé was everywhere: crowding the by-the-glass lists, taking up increasing amounts of cooler space in shops, peeking out of picnic bags, default host gifts for parties, in an ice bucket near the grill.

This trend is likely to continue in the spring and summer of 2016, hallelujah. May the easy, life-affirming style of rosé-drinking persist to the end of time.

Sometimes, though, just every once in a while (let’s say twice a week), I want to drink exciting, interesting, cool, memorable rosé. I want to move past that white-in-red’s-clothing mode. Give me the juiciness, the acidity, that outsized refreshment that feels like a warm sun and a cool breeze and a small platter of summer fruit. Yes. But also give me something distinctive, something pushing past the pleasantries. Set me at ease and make me smile, but hold my attention.

Interesting rosé looks like it will be up to this request in 2016. Usually when rosé wines enter the market in early spring, they’re not yet ready to drink with pleasure. The acidity hasn’t settled, and the entire wine seems too tightly wound. They need a couple of months to settle, to integrate the red-wine and white-wine attributes.

This year, though, many of the 2015-vintage wines I’ve tasted have been compelling and well-integrated right out of the gate. The ripe fruit is very present, the textures are creamy, the acidity is knit into the fabric rather than feeling screened-on.

Here are several I’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks, and which I’m excited to follow through Thanksgiving and beyond.

 Channing Daughters Cabernet Sauvignon Rosato 2015 ($22) is one of several scintillating rosés from this pre-eminent producer on Long Island’s South Fork. Cabernet sauvignon is underrated as a grape for rosé (I also love the soft, herbal cab rosés, both still and sparkling, from Austria’s Steininger), but when handled delicately the tannins create a taut but pliant structure like a spider’s web. The Channing Daughters is wonderfully aromatic, with a slight effervescence to offset the vivid, chewy fruit.

 Guéguen Bourgogne Rosé 2015 ($15) is a beautiful expression of pinot noir: incredibly lovely wildflower aromas, a toothsome earthiness, lime-like acidity. Its balance, medium body, suggestive flavors and firm structure offer so much of what I want in a non-boring, non-lite rosé.

 Montenidoli Canaiuolo Rosato 2015 ($19) disregards any preference you might have for a delicate, airy rosé. This is muscular, intense wine, and gorgeous to boot. A minority grape in Chianti reds, canaiuolo here becomes mushroomy and forested. The acidity and textural heft are in impressive balance. (Very little of this wine makes it to Maine each year. It’s around, but you need to ask around, and quickly!)

Others on my short list:

 Bonny Doon’s Vin Gris de Cigare 2015 ($15), Randall Grahm’s Cali-fied take on a southern France rosé, employs grenaches both rouge and gris as well as other grapes: plump fruit, but with leafy, tomato-from-the-garden flavor preeminent.

 La Spinetta’s deep Tuscan rosé 2015 ($20) combines sangiovese and Brunello’s bold cousin prugnolo gentile to make one of my favorite pink wines every year. Tangy, foresty, spicy and bold.

 Midsummer Cellars Grenache Rosé 2015 ($24), Napa-born, is big and viscous, but grenache’s candy-red profile exists only on the nose; taste is all dry: dried strawberries, dried herbs, dried wood.

 Matthias Dostert “Rosay” ($13) is listed without a vintage though this is its current release. It’s from the old, rare German roter elbling grape, and at only 11 percent alcohol, issues a delightful touch of sweetness to offset copious funky, soil-based aromas and flavors.

Joe Appel is the Wine Buyer at Rosemont Market. He can be reached at:

[email protected]

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