Pour the rosé for Labor Day

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By: Christina Barrueta, Special to azfamily.com

Pour the rosé for Labor Day! Why rosé? Dry rosés (not to be confused with sweet pink wine) are exceptionally versatile and food-friendly wines at around $20 a bottle. In some parts of the country, a chilled glass of rosé is savored during the summer months, but with our beautiful weather, we celebrate rosé all year.

With a few exceptions, rosés are made from red grapes. The range of hues, from rose-gold to deep garnet, depend on the type of grape and how long the red grape skins macerate or remain in the grape juice.

You'll find rosés offer a vibrant blend of minerality and acidity with notes of peach and apricot or watermelon and strawberries. In general, lighter rosés are fresh and crisp and perfectly paired with dishes such as appetizers, salads, pasta and seafood while darker rosés tend to have more structure and can be enjoyed with burgers, BBQ and grilled sausages. 

With over a hundred bonded and licensed wineries here in Arizona, pouring a local rosé that tastes of our unique terroir is an easy decision. Arizona has three main wine-growing regions – Sonoita and Willcox, which are located south of Tucson, and Verde Valley in northern Arizona near Sedona. 

Sonoita is the oldest wine-producing region, planted in the 1970s when winemaker and soil scientist Dr. Gordon Dutt discovered that the soil is nearly identical to that of Burgundy, France.

In Arizona, you'll find rosés made from grapes that grow well here – Grenache, Barbera, Mourvèdre Tempranillo – and even some lovely sparkling rosés. This group of rosés showcase some of my favorite vineyards and wineries - Callaghan Vineyards (Kent Callaghan is considered one of the pioneers, making wine since 1990), Pillsbury Wine Company, Chateau Tumbleweed, Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars, Los Milics, Carlson Creek, Dos Cabezas and Sand-Reckoner.

Ready to explore the world of Arizona rosés? You can pick up Pillsbury and Dos Cabezas at Total Wine, Merkin at Phoenix Public Market and find a large selection of Arizona wines at Arcadia Premium and at ODV Wines in Tempe where they specialize in rosés.  Dining out? Two of my favorite restaurants, FnB and Southern Rail, have extensive Arizona wine lists, including half off on Sundays.

Here in the Valley of the Sun, rosés are not simply a summer season wine, but can, and should, be enjoyed all year round. 

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