Weekend wines: A tasty $12 rosé to preview spring

March 8, 2013 at 1:44 PM ET

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It’s March, just a couple of weeks from the start of spring, and in the wine world that means a seasonal ritual has begun – the release of the first of the new rosés. And one of them is so delicious that I wanted to tell you about it even before the “official” start of rosé season. Actually, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie beat me by a few days with the initial release of their first rosé from Provence in France, which I plan to review when it arrives here.

Conventional wisdom holds that rosés are warm-weather wines, to be drunk on the patio on their own or with simple meals. And that they certainly are. But as I have noted before, there is no reason why rosés shouldn’t be enjoyed throughout the year. The reason is that they are so versatile, offering both the essence of red fruit and the cool refreshing qualities of many white wines. (They are made from red grapes, with the juice receiving only minimal contact with the color-producing skins during fermentation.)

Apaltagua’s 2012 Rosé from Chile’s Central Valley is another $12 bargain from the winery that produced the superb pinot noir I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. The rosé is made from carmènere, a variety originally from France that is similar to merlot and has long been Chile’s signature red.

Apaltagua’s rosé, with its pale salmon color, is a delightfully refreshing wine with tingling acidity. A glass before dinner was the perfect way to begin the evening. Like the pinot noir, this wine over-delivers, offering unusual complexity for the price. Citrus and strawberry are the dominant tastes with a good deal of orange and some lemon and lime as well. An herbal note accents the fruit and a little vanilla provides roundness. There are some minerals on the long finish.

Try this wine with grilled or sautéed herbed chicken or pork dishes and grilled or broiled fish. Or just enjoy it by itself for a taste of spring in this last gasp of winter. Imported by Global Vineyard Importers, Berkeley, California.

Edward Deitch is a James Beard Award-winning wine critic. Find many more of his wine reviews and commentary on his blog, Vint-ed.com, and follow him on Twitter.

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