The Las Rocas' ros?is really good. It's a wine where bright fruit meets sassy spice.

The reason the wine is a popular success, to a large degree, is because the grapes are groomed on the sunlit slopes of Spain's dynamic Calatayud growing region.

That's according to Yolanda Diaz, managing director of Bodegas San Alejandro, the woman behind our wine-of-the-week winner — the Las Rocas, 2012 de San Alejandro Ros? Calatayud, Spain at the irresistible price of $12.

"The mountains of Calatayud soar to 3,500 feet, with nearly 20 different soil types dotting the slopes, from chalk and limestone to clay and marlstone," she said.

"With its harsh landscape and extreme weather conditions — dry, hot summers and cold, snowy winters - Calatayud, at first glance, would appear inhospitable to grapevines. But this hidden gem is heralded as one of the world's ideal regions for growing garnacha grapes."

The ros?has met with great success in the U.S. market because Americans embrace its fuller body and vibrant color, Diaz said.

"It's a beautiful intermediate option between our robust garnacha and a light, fruity ros?wine," she said. "Not only does Las Rocas ros?offer refreshing flavors, but also a firm structure that's not always found in ros?."

The challenge in producing a ros?is choosing the right style because ros?can made in so many different styles, Diaz said.

"We strive to capture the balance of white wines' lighter body and refreshing characteristics along with the beautiful colors and ripe red fruit aromas characteristic of red wines," she said.

<em>You can reach Wine Writer Peg Melnik at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com.</em>

Wine writer Peg Melnik had a blind tasting this week of ros?, from fruity to elegant. Our wine-of-the-week winner is crazy good -- the Las Rocas, 2012 de San Alejandro Ros? Calatayud, Spain at the irresistible price of $12.

TOP PICK - Las Rocas

<strong>Las Rocas, 2012 de San Alejandro Ros?</strong> Calatayud, Spain, 13.5 percent alcohol, $12. **** Las Rocas is where bright red fruit meets sassy spice. Aromas and flavors of raspberry, strawberry and snappy spice. This is a clean, fruit-forward ros? crafted from garnacha grapes grown in high-altitude vineyards. It's full-bodied and elegant with a fruity finish. What's more, the $12 price tag makes it a steal.

<strong>Others worth mentioning:</strong>

<strong>Ancient Oak Cellars, 2012 "Lucy" Sonoma County</strong>, Ros?of Pinot Noir, 14.1 percent, $22. **** A tasty ros?with aromas and flavors of raspberry, watermelon and spice. Bright acidity. Nice length.

<strong>Tablas Creek, Tablas Estate Paso Robles Ros?</strong> 2012, 14.5 percent, $28. **** This California Rhone ros?is gorgeous blend of mourv?re, grenache and counoise grapes. It's floral with striking notes of ripe cherry, watermelon, strawberry and spice. The ros?has bright acidity and an ample dose of minerality on the finish.

<strong>Robert Sinskey Vineyards 2012 Ros?</strong> Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, 13.1 percent, $28. **** This ros?is exotic with aromas of orange blossoms and peaches, and full-on strawberry on the palate. The texture is silky and the overall impression is refreshing. A great pick.

<strong> Ehlers Estate 2012 Sylviane Ros?</strong> 12.5 percent, $28. **** This ros?is bright and lively with tasty tart fruit - cranberry, strawberry and raspberry. Nicely spiced. Crisp acidity. A standout.