Our Wine of the Week, Bucher Vineyard 2013 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir ($18), is a cool beauty, crisp, delicately floral, lightly fruited and, overall, quite captivating. If this wine were a human, heads would turn whenever he or she walked into a room. Yes, it's a bit androgynous, not so much David Bowie androgyny but more like young Julian Bond androgyny: tall, a tad coy and beautifully chiseled.
On the palate, there are suggestions of strawberries in the morning, before the sun has warmed their sugar, and of red watermelon, the part near the rind just before it turns white. You may also notice orange zest and cranberry flavors and, on the wine's engaging finish, just a touch of rhubarb.
Alcohol is a bit over 14 percent, though it is not hot on the palate.
This is a wine you'll want to have around when salmon season starts up in a few weeks. It's also magical with fish such as petrale sole, flounder, fresh-caught lake trout and sand dabs.
At this time of year, enjoy the wine with roasted asparagus topped with a very light vinaigrette, with fresh favas — they'll appear sometime soon — and with spring garlic. But the best pairing, I think, is with white, golden or Chioggia beets. In this dish, I've added one small red beet to a red wine vinaigrette; in this context it ties the dish together in a lovely way, though I do not recommend using red beets for the salad itself, as their flavor is too intense, too aggressive and will eclipse the wine.
<b>Golden Beet Salad with Feta & Ruby Vinaigrette</b>
Makes 3 to 4 servings
<i>6 to 8 medium golden beets, leaves removed, rinsed
1 small red beet, leaves removed, rinsed