There was a time, and it wasn't that long ago, when you couldn't give away a bottle of dry French rosé wine in the US. The zillions of bottles of White Zinfandel on store shelves had somehow worked a kind of evil spell on wine buyers' minds, convincing everyone that if a wine was pink, then it must therefore taste like soda pop and be sweet.
That's changed, and nothing attests to it more than the fact that shipments of dry rosés to the US from Provence—the homeland of great dry rosé—shot up more than 40 percent last year. But it's no surprise, when you think about it. Provençal rosé, which is light, crisp and not sweet in the slightest, is one of the best springtime (and summertime) wines around.
Rosés from Provence are typically a blend of red grapes—Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah are the most common. The juice stays in contact with the grape skins for only a few hours, so instead of turning a deep purple–red, the wines remain pale orangey–pink in color. Their aroma tends to suggest raspberries, or strawberries, or sometimes watermelon; alcohol levels are modest (12.5 to 13 percent); and they go well with everything from a Niçoise salad to roast chicken to potato chips—in other words, almost anything. Here are five to keep an eye out for.