What to Drink This Summer: Sparkling Rosé

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Four times in a week, sparkling rosé has been the gratis pour of choice among new restaurant sommeliers. Which, here on the cusp of summer, is as good a leading indicator as we need. If ’07 was the summer of rosé, and in ’08 it was the Grunner that flowed like water, then let it be said here and now: The summer of 2009 will be all about sparkling rosé. To that end, four days out, we asked the ubiquitous Gary Vaynerchuk, online wine phenom, to recommend five bottles of the pink bubbly stuff for under $20. You’re welcome in advance:

1. Juve Y Camps Brut Rosé, $12.98, Spain. “My favorite of this quartet is the non-vintage Brut Rosé. Dark pink in color with a lovely nose of rose petals and strawberries, it is lively and fresh on the palate, with crisp acidity and a long finish. This excellent value can be served with a variety of savory courses and as an aperitif.” (90 Points - Jay Miller - the Wine Advocate)

2. Riondo Prosecco Pink, $8.99, Italy. “This delicious light-pink-colored sparkler displays fine bubbles loaded with aromas and flavors of sweet cherries and fresh-picked strawberries. It is light- to medium-bodied, lively, fresh, and explosively fruity. WOW! This is a great crowd-pleaser.”

3. Lucien Albrecht Cremant D'Alsace Brut Rosé, $14.99, Alsace. “Made with 100 percent Pinot Noir, this sparkler has bright-pink color. Perfumed nose with notes of red fruits. Attractive, round fruit on the palate. Ideal sparkling wine for aperitif or dessert.”

4. Louis De Grenelle Saumur Rosé, $18.98, Saumur. “Made from 100 percent Cabernet Franc, this Rosé offers a grainy and chalky nose followed by wild floral aspects on the attack. The Cab Franc shines through on the palate with heavy veggie action, and it has a funky, complex finish. Not for everyone, but something very different and well made.”

5. Mirabelle Brut Rosé, $18.99, California. “A rosé with serious intentions, this has a delicate-pink hue and floral strawberry and spicy yeast-roll aromas. The flavors show good focus, offering raspberry, Gala apple, ginger, and fig flavors. Drink now through 2012. 3,000 cases made.” (93 Points - Wine Spectator)