Welcome to the third annual Advocate rose column, dedicated to those of us who appreciate pink wine that is neither sweet nor white zinfandel. The good news is that rose is being taken more seriously than ever before, especially in California . A group of wineries that produce rose have formed Rose Avengers and Producers (rapwine.com), and a surprising number of wineries are making high-end roses that sell for as much as $20 a bottle. And, as difficult as it may be to believe, one well-known wine writer is worried that rose is becoming “painfully chic.”



          But never fear. Rose won’t be chic here. It will always be well-made, inexpensive wine that pairs with hot weather and summer food and is served well-chilled. This year, in fact, there is an abundance of drinkable rose:



          • Old reliables: Bonny Doon’s Big House Pink, Toad Hollow’s Pinot Noir Rose (though this vintage is not as dry as usual), and the Argentine Vida Organica. Each is $10 or less. Interestingly, the usual $7 or so French roses available everywhere weren’t quite as good this year — still dry, but without as much fruit.



          • Something new: I can’t believe I missed this one in years past — Marques D Valcarlos, a dry Spanish rose made from tempranillo and merlot, for $5. Kim McPherson’s Rose of Syrah, a Texas wine for about $12, is not especially dry but, like all McPherson wines, is well made and a good value.



          • Going upscale. Jeff Morgan, who once wrote for the Wine Spectator, went over to the other side, and his SolaRosa winery makes only roses. The $15 2004, made with sangiovese and merlot, is more sophisticated than less expensive wines. There’s also Sofia , from Francis Coppola, for about $15. Coppola’s track record with wine (not unlike his track record with films) is decidedly uneven, and some poor wine is released under his name. This isn’t one of them — bone dry, but still with lots of fruit.



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