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Grabbing A Rosé Easy On The Wallet

May 22, 2019

Maybe you’ve seen the $5 rosés and thought something must be wrong with them. Or, it’s a trap.

But it is rosé, so how bad can it possibly be?

Don’t worry, I’ve tried them for you, and they are, for the most part, enjoyable while being easy on the wallet.

When you see a bargain-basement wine like that, rather than assume there’s something wrong with it, you need to ask why it is that price. Wine-producing nations such as Portugal and Spain, for example, have a soft economy and have to push massive amounts of wine into the global market.

Rosé has become such a phenomenally successful wine category that producers have had to introduce or expand their rosé lineup, in some cases without a ready market to buy them up.

Rosés also age like whites; that is to say, the majority don’t age well at all. So vintages from three or more years ago may be fine but also have a greater chance of being in decline. Retailers will want to discount those and clear those out. But they also may be very good. Avoid any with an orange tint, a sign of oxidation.

All this translates to great deals — and, with rosé, not much risk. The expectation for rosé is incredibly reasonable. The wine needs to be a pale salmon color or pink to light reddish, have flavor and have some acids, especially acids to balance the potential touch of sweetness.

A Spanish deal, Val De Los Frailes Rosado, shows strawberry character with a somewhat candied, rich texture. It could use some more acids, but at $4, that is literally $1 per glass. If you are planning a summer party, this may be a case you’ll want, if it has not sold out by then. 1/2

They aren’t all screaming deals. From Spain we find Actum 2016 Valencia Rosé, with a slight orange candy flavor but flatness on the finish and just a trace of acids, making this wine sound but boring and barely worth it. $6.50.

Also from the Iberian Peninsula comes a Vinho Verde rosé. The region of Vinho Verde most often is associated with low-alcohol, fizzy white wines, but it also makes reds and rosés. The rosés are very fun, and the fizziness (most often from carbonation), gives it an added dimension. Arca Nova 2017 Vinho Verde Rosé shows character of fresh raspberry and strawberry with some lime plus nice acids and fizz to finish it off. The low, low alcohol content — just a touch over 10% — makes this and other Vinho Verdes great summer session wines. It gets a mention because Pennsylvania has some 2016s at $4.50, and it often goes on sale for a few dollars less. This vintage, more widely available, costs $9.

Get ready, because canned wine is the next huge wine trend. This wine comes in a 375 ml can, the same type of can in which you’d find a Pepsi or Budweiser. Barnard Griffin C’est Le Vin Rosé Washington State is bright and fresh, with smells of fresh strawberries and flavors of strawberries and Pixy Stix, but it is not cloyingly sweet. While it appears to be non-vintage, I found a “born on” stamp on the bottom of “2/18/19.” $6. 1/2

Most retailers have expanded the rosé sections, and this is the time of year to dive into them.

GRADE: Exceptional , Above average , Good , Below average , Poor . DAVID FALCHEK, executive director of the American Wine Society, reviews wines each week.