Spring may technically be a few weeks away, but my south Arkansas roots ingrained in me that spring begins on March 1 (or sometimes on the first day in February when you can wear shorts without getting funny looks at Kroger). Since this season's rosé wines are still making their way into the market, I'll leave my rosé preview for another day. Instead, these are some of the sparkling rosés I've been turning to recently to see me through till the official start of spring.
Scarpetta Timido Brut Rosé ($17)
With its salmon pink color and pillowy texture, this is still, I think, one of the best value bottles you'll find in the state. The flavors here are light and airy, skewing toward wafting notes of strawberry and raspberry. Perfect for the pool, the porch and recovering from the daycare drop-off line. However many bottles you think you'll need, double it.
Gruet Brut Rosé ($21)
No, your eyes aren't deceiving you — this wine really is from New Mexico. I especially like this wine's notes of sour cherry, brioche and melon aromas. A vibrant entry leads to a tangy, tart medium-full body with fruit and toast flavors and a very zesty and long orange and lemon finish.
Roederer Estate Brut Rosé ($38)
Roederer Estate is the California outpost of the Louis Roederer Champagne house. You know, the folks who make Cristal? A blend of pinot noir and chardonnay grown in California's Anderson Valley, this wine delivers finesse without the fuss on a bed of pillowy, featherweight bubbles. File this one under "always delicious," "pairs with everything" and "we didn't buy enough."
Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Rosé Excellence ($28)
Another wine from Anderson Valley, this rosé achieves its baby-pink color from a small percentage of still pinot noir added just before the wine undergoes the fermentation to get its bubbles. The resulting rosé is summery and bursting with a nose of strawberries and cream. If you're brave enough to weather the Arkansas summer on a patio, consider this a warm weather staple.
Schramsberg Vineyards Brut Rosé ($50)
Another blend of pinot noir and chardonnay, with fruit grown in California's Napa, Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino counties. The real key here is versatility — it goes with anything. Delicate salads and barbecue straight off the grill. The key to that is a savory flavor profile and bright, unctuous acidity.
Priest Ranch Brut Rosé ($60)
Syrah is the grape of choice here, a relatively rare choice for sparkling wines, though it's used to great effect. I especially love the texture here, with the wine showcasing a rich and creamy mouthfeel. I paired it with brunch (your eggs will thank you), but this would be just as perfect for an afternoon whiling away time on the back porch. Look for notes of just-ripe strawberries, candied cherries and peach skin.
As always, you can see what I'm drinking on Instagram at @sethebarlow and send your wine questions and quibbles to [email protected]