Think Pink

August heat is awful. Worst of all, there’s not enough of it! Make the most of your last fleeting summer days with the most amusing of all wines: rosé. Rosé, of course, is essentially white wine made from red grapes. Traditional red grapes, like Tempranillo from Rioja or, famously, black-as-night Zinfandel, are pressed quickly, and the grape juice is allowed to sit with the skins only oh-so-briefly, at which point the two are separated. In the best cases, this means the wine gets a bit of perfume and depth from the skins, and marries that to the fresh zinginess of a lively wine moved quickly from the vineyard to you. So grab a deck chair, your sun glasses, and a bucket of ice for your bottle. If you don’t enjoy summer now you’ll be kicking yourself once January comes.

2008 Marqués de Cáceres Dry Rosé Rioja

There’s no better affordable entry point to summer rosés than this juicy Spanish charmer. It starts with a ka-pow of strawberries, roses, ripe plums, and white peaches, but underneath the fireworks of fragrance, is balance. Pair with cheese and fruit on the deck, or just pour it by the case at parties. Available: Try Surdyk’s in Minneapolis. ($11)

2008 Stonehill Dry Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé

This South African option is a red-wine lover’s rosé: Sure, it’s got a floral nose, but it’s meaningfully dry and has more nonfruit character than any other rosé around. Expect a little wood smoke, cedar, spice, and vanilla—all rounding out a full supple body. Available: Try the Edina Municipal Liquor Store, or Top Ten Wine & Spirits in Woodbury and Cottage Grove. ($13)

2009 Ameztoi “Rubentis” Rosé Getariako Txakolina

This Spanish Basque rarity is about as surprising a rosé as you’ll ever find: It’s mineral-dry, briny, finely bubbled, and yet offers the tiniest whiff of candied orange blossom. Available: Try North Loop Wine and Spirits in Minneapolis or Solo Vino in St. Paul. ($19)

N.V. Paul Zinck Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé

Rosé champagne has long been the world’s standard-bearer for exquisite pink, but what if you don’t want to pay the steep price for real champagne? Why not try this phenomenally tasty Alsatian all–Pinot Noir bubbly: It’s biscuity, vanilla- and strawberry-touched, racy as a rocket, elegant as pearls. Available: Try the Wine Shop in Minnetonka or the Wine Thief in St. Paul. ($25)