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Washington Rosé
Not all rosé is created equal. They aren't all sickeningly sweet or super dry.

On a recent evening when temperatures dipped below 90 degrees – gasp! – a friend invited me to view her stunning garden. As I gazed at the pops of pink, purple and white blooming all around me I cradled another stunning beauty in my hand: a glass of Washington Rosé.

We drank two rosé wines from Washington State that night. If you’re not a fan of sweet Rosé wines that remind you of watermelon and strawberry Jolly Rancher candies, nor are you in love with dry Rosé wines, then tip your palate to these two.

2010 Olympic Cellars Winery Working Girl “Rosé the RiveterRosé (Columbia Valley, Washington, $10) is all about sweet and silky strawberry notes. Working Girl is a label from Olympic Cellars; the wines are made by (you guessed it!) … women. (www.olympiccellars.com)

2011 Charles & Charles Rosé (Columbia Valley, Washington, $12) is from cult-wine producer Charles Smith Wines, also known for a 100-point wine (2006 Royal City Syrah, awarded 100 points from Wine Enthusiast, a first for Washington State) and a variety of crowd pleasers that includes Kung Fu Girl Riesling. With this Rosé, expect a clean finish preceded by delicate strawberry notes. (www.charlessmithwines.com)

You can always count on Phil Bilodeau at Thief Wine Shop & Bar to roll out wine deals. This week he’s offering one for $9.95 a bottle. Normally $15 a bottle, if you drop into either location – in the Milwaukee Public Market or on Oakland Avenue in Shorewood – this week you’ll score as much 2010 Palacio de Bornos (Rueda, Spain) as you could possibly want, until it sells out. (A case costs $107.46, I’m just saying.) Verdejo grapes are in this wine, and Phil touts it as “a less-polarizing alternative to Sauvignon Blanc,” describing its “refreshing crispness, mouth-watering acidity and bright citrus flavors” in such a way that you feel you need a glass. Now.

Living in Wisconsin you’re more likely to meet a craft brewer than a winemaker, naturally, and so when a winemaker decides to fly into town it’s a special treat. As part of Ray’s Wine & Spirits’ Winemaker Series, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s assistant winemaker Wendy Stuckey will breeze into town on Wednesday, July 25. The 6:30 p.m. tasting costs $20 and she’ll be on hand to answer all of your pressing questions about the Washington State winery, as well as conduct a tasting. To secure your spot, call Ray’s at 414-258-9821 or drop an email to johne@rayswine.com.

There’s a perennial white wine I turn to on hot summer nights, and we’ve sweat our way through many of those lately, haven’t we? 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand, $19) is packed with zippy gooseberry and passionfruit notes that continue to punchy and acidic before sliding into a grassy finish accented by guava. Given the screwcap enclosure, this is a great wine to pack for a picnic in the park (or maybe an outdoor concert in your neighborhood park?).

Homepage photo by Chris Kessler.

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