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Tres Palacios Reserva Rosé Cabernet Franc 2019

Valle del Maipo, Chile, $12

When husband-and-wife owners of Tres Palacios decided to start a winery in 1996, rather than go with a tried-and-true terroir, they chose to establish their vineyards where nobody had grown grapevines before — the Cholqui region in Valle del Maipo, Chile. Cholqui’s high altitude and proximity to the Pacific Ocean create a much cooler climate there than the rest of Valle del Maipo. Tres Palacios is still the only winery in Cholqui, where they produce wines from a variety of estate-grown grapes.

Tres Palacios Reserve Rosé is produced entirely from cabernet franc, a French grape with which fans of Connecticut wine are sure to be familiar. This rosé is an eye-pleasing mango pink, and the nose is fresh and fruity with aromas of raspberry, grapefruit and lemon plums. Grapefruit is echoed on the palate, interlaced with strawberry, apple skins, and a vegetal note. Cabernet franc is one of a handful of grapes known to contain high amounts of pyrazine which can display as an excess of green pepper flavor, especially when grown in cooler climates. However, the only evidence of it here is an unexpected yet eminently enjoyable pop of jalapeño pepper on the finish. Sip alongside chicken and sweet pepper shish kebabs, watermelon with feta and mint salad, or fish tacos.

A refreshing, fun and food-friendly summer sipper, all for $12.

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A to Z Wineworks Oregon Rosé 2019

Newberg, Oregon, $16

Two couples with a wealth of experience between them in the Oregon wine industry joined forces in 2002 to create A to Z Wineworks. A to Z attempts to reflect what they call the “Essence of Oregon” in every wine they produce. These award-winning wines represent an exceptional value for the money. In addition to making good wine, A to Z strives to be a force for good, honored as a “Best for the World” B Corporation every year since 2015, for their economic, environmental and social responsibility.

The enjoyment of A to Z Oregon Rosé begins before one even twists off the cap, with beautifully designed graphics on an elegant bottle that showcase the vibrant copper-watermelon hue. This rosé is crafted primarily from sangiovese, the grape of Tuscany, but grown in the much cooler Oregon climate. Robust aromas of red apples, peaches and guava greet the nose, intertwined with a bouquet of roses and a delicately sweet hint of honeybush tea. White strawberries, honeydew melon, and Gold Nugget mandarins are delivered to the palate on convincingly crisp acid, followed by a creamy finish with plenty of peach notes to create an excellent balance of freshness and roundness. Although fruity, this rosé finishes dry as peach fuzz. Pair with pork teriyaki, chicken tagine, or baked goat cheese dip with crusty bread.

For $16, you can enjoy the pinker side of sangiovese without spending a pretty penny.

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Château d’Aqueria Tavel Rosé 2018

Côtes-du-Rhône, France, $22

In striking contrast to the delicate, light pink rosés of Provence, France, the wines from Tavel are big, bold and often age-worthy. This appellation in the southern Rhône Valley is solely dedicated to the production of rosé wine. The historic Château d’Aqueria owns the largest estate in Tavel, where they create the archetypal rosé of the region, considered among the best Tavel has to offer.

Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel Rosé is crafted from a blend of seven grapes, led by grenache. In the bottle, the robe is a striking ruby red, the color of hummingbird nectar, lightening to bright cranberry in the glass. The nose is brim with ripe red fruits, including watermelon and raspberries. This robust rosé fills the mouth with a smooth yet weighty texture while notes of strawberry join the other fruits to vie for the spotlight. The midpalate is juicy and fruity, leaving just a hint of dried Montmorency cherry in its wake, before progressing to a crushed gravel minerality on a deliciously dry and lingering finish. Stunning and structured with a higher alcohol content than most, this rosé is more than just a pretty face. Although easily at home with light summer fare, such as poached salmon and pasta salads, this wine would truly shine with game dishes.

It’s proof that pink can be powerful as well as pretty, and still have a reasonable price tag.

Renée B. Allen, CSW, FWS, CSS, is a wine and spirits expert and the director of the award-winning Wine Institute of New England, which offers wine and spirits education and events. Allen is a professor at the University of New Haven, a wine competition director and judge, and can be seen on WFSB’s Better Connecticut.

This article appears in the August 2020 issue of Connecticut MagazineYou can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get our latest and greatest content delivered right to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.