As the rest of the country says goodbye to summer, we're just getting started in the Bay Area. While our friends in other places are switching to lighter reds and fuller-bodied whites, now is our chance to kick back and bask in the glory of rosé.
Lest you think our friends to the north, south and east have pillaged all the good stuff, many of the best wines can still be found on local shelves. Here are five:
Domaine Sainte Lucie MIP Rose, Côtes de Provence, 2012 (Provence, France): Founded in 1979 when the only people who consumed rosé de Provence were those lucky enough to vacation on the French Riviera, Domaine Sainte Lucie has expanded and transitioned to sustainable viticulture. The workhorse of the estate, the MIP (made in Provence) rosé is composed of 60 percent cinsault, and the rest is equal parts syrah and grenache. Fragrant, crisp and delightful with citrus, strawberry and a touch of peach, it's one of life's simple pleasures. Suggested retail: $15
Teutonic Wine Co. Rosé, Laurel Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains, 2012 (Willamette Valley, Ore.): Portland, Ore., native Barnaby Tuttle and his wife, Olga, planted their first vineyard in 2005. Heavily influenced by German winemakers and a burgeoning natural-winemaking scene in the Northwest, the Tuttles have focused on the Alsatian-German varietals, with Riesling and pinot noir leading the way. Light and lean with floral overtones and barely ripe strawberries, it's perfect for hot days. At just 10 percent alcohol, this is a wine you can drink in mass quantities -- but save some for me, as only 219 cases were made. Suggested retail: $16
Weingut Becker Petit Rose, 2012 (Pfalz, Germany): The winery has become a pinot noir specialist in a place that is trying to make its mark with this grape. Located in the south of the Pfalz region, many of its vineyards are actually across the border in Alsace, France. Since taking over the winemaking in 2005, Fritz Becker has emphasized acidity over ripeness, picking earlier than his father or neighbors. With the addition of 10 percent portugieser, this is a punchy, bright and juicy rosé with peaches, strawberries and an underlying minerality. Suggested retail: $17
Dashe Vin Gris, 2012 (Dry Creek Valley): With a winery located in Alameda, Dashe has a local flavor. Husband and wife Mike and Anne Dashe are very much parts of the local wine scene and the winery is a leading zinfandel producer. A blend of 90 percent grenache, 6 percent petite sirah and 4 percent zinfandel, this is a juicy, fruity California rosé. While it might lack the subtleties of some of the others on this list, it's balanced and offers a mound of fruit for those who prefer rosé with some weight. Suggested retail: $20
Batic Rosé, 2012 (Vipava Valley, Slovenia): Ivan Batic and son Miha can trace the family winemaking roots back to 1592. Over the past few years, the winery has emerged as one of the most respected producers from Slovenia and rivals its Western European counterparts. Made from two organic vineyards, Batic gently presses the grapes and allows spontaneous fermentation to occur. Composed entirely of cabernet sauvignon, it has a mound of blackberry sorbet with subtle notes of pepper and sage. Suggested retail: $22
These wines can be found through Biondivino, Bi-Rite Market (Divisadero and 18th Street), Canyon Market, Noe Valley Wine Merchants, Northbrae Bottle Shop, Little Vine and Vintage Berkeley.
Pamela S. Busch is a wine writer and educator who has owned several wine bars in San Francisco, including Hayes and Vine and CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen.