Pretty in (Provençal) Pink

It might be a chilly, rainy May Day here in New York, but the dispiriting weather doesn't bother me one bit. Quite the reverse, in fact, because I am anticipating the arrival of summer with unabashed confidence. Such optimism is inspired, you see, by my having at my elbow a glass of that quintessential wine of summer—a Provençal rosÉ.

So evocative is this pale, pink-tinged beauty of that land of lavender, olives, and endless azure skies that the current rain seems like no more than a temporary and entirely accidental inconvenience.

RosÉs are back in fashion these days, and as my favorite version comes from Provence, I will be featuring a few of them over the summer, with the first offering being the modestly priced Saint Roch les Vignes ($14).

It comes from the village of Cuers, northeast of Toulon, and somewhat surprisingly is made by a cooperative. Wine cooperatives in France have a deserved reputation for producing ropy, bulk wine with the emphasis on quantity rather than quality. But even they are being forced to upgrade their act in the face of the new, world-wide market.

And Saint Roch les Vignes has obviously managed this transformation most successfully. Beautifully balanced and redolent of summer strawberries, the wine got better and better in the glass, so my advice is to let it breathe for half an hour after opening, and don't serve it too cold, that will just mask its seductive, peaches-and-cream harmony.

And I think I'll have bouillabaisse for supper this evening. Just to get in practice.

When to Drink: NowBreathing/Decanting: Half an hour really helps it open up.Food Pairing: Meatier fish like tuna or swordfish, and cold meats and chicken.Grapes: 65% cinsault, 35% grenacheAppellation: Côtes de ProvenceRegion: ProvenceCountry: FrancePrice: $14Availability: ModerateWeb Site: www.jeffwelburn.com/portfolio

See more wines at www.nickonwine.com.

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