It may seem like winter will never relax its grip, but like robins as harbingers of spring, the 2018 rosés are landing on our retail shelves. This week’s greatest value is an inexpensive charmer from Portugal, ideal for a grazing weekend lunch as we gaze upon the bright sunshine outside and check the wind chill on our weather apps.
We also have two exceptional whites from Oregon, a pinot gris and a pinot blanc, and two delicious reds from the Cotes du Rhone in France.
Bacalhôa JP Azeitão Syrah Rosé 2018
Setúbal, Portugal, $11
The new crop of 2018 rosés is beginning to arrive, including this inexpensive charmer from Portugal. Its bright color and cheerful, summery fruit flavors (strawberry, watermelon) will have you thinking of warmer weather in no time. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.
Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris 2017
Willamette Valley, Ore., $18
Oregon pinot gris has always distinguished itself from the racy, refreshing (yet often boring) pinot grigios of Italy and the plush, richer style of pinot gris from Alsace. And Ponzi has consistently been one of my favorite Oregon pinot gris producers. The 2017 is gorgeous, a symbiotic combination of fruit, weight and agility on the palate. Fans of pairing Oregon’s pinot noir with salmon should twist open a bottle of this as well next time. There are certainly worse ways to spend an evening. ABV: 13.1 percent.
Maysara Autees Pinot Blanc Momtazi Vineyard 2017
McMinnville, Ore., $20
While pinot gris is better known among white wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Maysara makes a good case for pinot blanc with this exceptional bottling. Fermented totally in stainless steel, its racy fruit flavors seem to be channeled directly from an orchard. Certified biodynamic. ABV: 12 percent.
La Bastide Saint Dominique Côtes du Rhône 2017
Two and a half stars
Rhone Valley, France, $16
This lovely Rhone Valley red shows the flavors of wild herbs and mountain air that wine lovers have come to call “garrigue.” It gets better a few hours or even a day after opening, suggesting the wine will improve for a year or three in bottle. Enjoy this beauty with braised or grilled meats. ABV: 13.5 percent.
E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2015
Rhone Valley, $18
Guigal producers in the northern Rhone Valley, and the entry-level Cotes du Rhone anchors an exceptional lineup that includes Crozes-Hermitage and Cote Rotie, among other appellations. The winery also makes enough for it to be widely available. ABV: 14 percent.