Russ Winton: Wine List

American rosés on the rise

Every year, when baseball season starts, I know it’s time to start searching for newly released rosés. Normally, this means a trek to San Francisco to catch a Giants game and visit wine shops that carry plenty of rosés, especially those from Provence. French rosés have seen 11 years of double-digit growth in exports to the U.S. according to the CIVP Provence Wine Council. American wine drinkers have finally realized that a chilled, bone-dry rosé is perfect by itself or paired with almost anything. It’s perfect with grilled sardines, tapas, grilled vegetables, ratatouille, spicy foods, smoky foods, pink meats like ham, pork, hot dogs, shrimp, lobster and even French fries.

I was surprised when I discovered World Market had set up a rosé island featuring about a dozen French, Spanish and American rosés. Most were the 2015 vintage, which is what I was looking for although the 2014 is still a safe buy. I bought a mixed case, mostly American and canceled the trip to the City. I also checked the local supermarkets for U.S. 2015 pinkies and was disappointed. You’d think they would have an end cap featuring the new releases. Last year, Costco had three available and this year just one, Gerard Bertrand. O’Brien’s Market has about a half dozen quality rosés, Tolosa, Lavender Ridge, Pomelo and Balletto. Bevmo has an interesting mix of last years, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Chateau Miravel ($23.95). They also carry the 2015 Chronic Cellars Pink Pedals from Paso Robles. It’s a blend of 89 percent grenache and 11 percent syrah and has amazing flavors of watermelon and ripe cherries. It is definitely one of my favorites this year.

The Bernard Griffen’s Rosé of Sangiovese from Washington is a consistent best of class or double gold medal winner in the S.F. Chronicle Competition and is always on my list. The Sonoma County Toad Hollow Rosé of Pinot Noir has raspberry and rose petal aromas, watermelon and strawberry flavors and rounds out my top three favorites of 2015, (at least so far). Here are more American rosés to consider: Bokisch Terra Alta Rosado (garnacha), Bonny Doon Vin Gris De Cigare and Lange Twins (sangiovese). The good news is all are under $15 and available, thanks to World Market, O’Brien’s and BevMo.

What’s on our table

A reader gave me a taste of the 2011 Three Rivers Cabernet from Grocery Outlet (Merced) for $16.99. It’s a big wine with blackberry aromas, flavors of chocolate, cherries and a long finish. The website price is $39. I’m heading to Merced. Cheers!