Straight outta the fridge, opening a bottle of this is going to get you an dark, coppery pink wine, bright and clean in the glass, that smells largely of uncomplicated strawberries. Give it time to warm up a bit, and the smells spread out, becoming a little bit peppery, with something like freshly churned butter as well. Eventually, it all tends more towards fresh Rainier cherries.In the mouth, there’s a very slight spritziness that’s a bit distracting from the actual wine, which is fairly simple, but with an interesting dark downturn on the finish. There seems to be just a bit of residual sugar, which is more than adequately balanced by the wine’s acidity. It finishes broadly, satisfyingly, with notes of rhubarb and mace. It’s all less complicated than the best pink wines from Australia (or California), and far from a Provençal rosé, but it’s a lot of fun and a welcome change from sickly sweet white zinfandel.Yalumba
Price: US $9.99
Date tasted: January 2008—Julian and I visited Yalumba last February, and had a fascinating discussion about wine trends with the tasting room staff. Apparently this wine is selling like crazy down there; up here in California, pink wines are still desperately naff and no amount of marketing is going to change that, at least not for the foreseeable future. White zinfandel was the #4 best selling wine in the USA for a long, long time – and that started to change in 2006, when imported pinot grigio began to outsell it (something to do with the ongoing middlebrow fascination with Tuscany, I suppose?). My guess is that it’s going to take time for pink wine to become popular or trendy – we have to shake off that white zin hangover first.FWIW, some excellent California pink wines to try would include Pax (wonderful, but expensive; the winery seems to quickly becoming a Parkerized mail-list-only outfit to boot), Bonny Doon (their Vin Gris de Cigare has gone from strength to strength in the oughts), and JK Carriere Glass (a rosé of Pinot noir; I’ve never actually tasted it but I love their other wines so darn much that I can’t imagine it’s anything other than wonderful).