A pink renaissance? You bet. The American wine consumer is having fun playing with sparkling ros? its vibrant colors, its festive flavors.

Our wine of the week is the 4-star rated Chandon, NV California Brut Ros?at $22 because of its price point and availability. It edged out a pricier contender, the 4.5-star rated L'Ermitage, 2003 Brut Ros?by Roederer Estate at $70.

The Chandon has great structure with a burst of ripe strawberry and a hint of apple and pear. It's a snappy, complex California pink sparkler. The L'Ermitage, made in Anderson Valley, has a French feel, crisp with great minerality and its complex flavors reveal just a hint of red fruit.

The most challenging part of making a brut ros? according to Chandon winemaker Tom Tiburzi, "is balancing the red wine into the blend while controlling astringency. To create the desired mouth-feel in the finished wine, it's particularly important for us to select chardonnay base wines for the blend that have a very creamy mouth-feel …"

Tiburzi said the most interesting part of making a brut ros?is to shoot for complexity.

"In the blending after harvest and before we go to second fermentation in the bottle, we aim for complexity by balancing the impact of the chardonnay, pinot noir meunier base wines so that when the pinot noir still wine comes into the blend all the white and red varietals harmoniously share the stage," he said.

Staff Writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com.