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Pink = refreshing.

That's the commonly accepted image regarding wines that are called "ros? by that or any other name.

The assumption is that all ros?wines are best served well chilled and thus all are refreshing. This is a misleading generalization that assumes that anything cold is refreshing. And I suppose it can be.

But with so many wineries now making various styles and types of pink wines, there are some wines that simply defy the old formula. Here are only a few examples:

Sweet ros? </CF>For me, anything that is so sweet that the wine is almost (or actually) cloying is anything but refreshing. We all have different thresholds for how much sugar we will tolerate in a wine before it lacks drinkability. For me, the best ros?wines are dry or close to it.

"Serious" ros? A few ros? are made so dry, austere and acidic that if they are well chilled they lose their main attribute — the way they work brilliantly with food. As such, they shouldn't be chilled too much or their delicate aromas and tastes disappear. If too cold, all you get is a copper- or salmon-colored liquid that is relatively neutral.

Older ros? It's usually best to consume ros?wines when they are young, fresh and vibrantly fruity. But a few dry ros?wines change over time, and a year or two after release they're still fine to drink. However, consumers must treat them not like pink wines, but as if they were pale reds.

My favorite ros? are wines that were specifically made from fruit harvested early enough to capture the freshness of the fruit. Some ros?wines are made by a technique in which some liquid is drawn off a tank of fermenting red wine and is bottled as a ros?

Often these wines are a bit alcoholic. I find that 14% or more of alcohol in a ros?often leaves a wine soft and lacking in the balance a great ros?should have. For me, a great ros?should have about 13% alcohol or even less.

The best ros?wines I have tasted over the years are made from the pinot noir grape, and one of the best of that ilk still widely available is 2011 Toad Hollow from Sonoma County (about $12).

I also love dry Grenache ros?; a range of these is now coming in from Spain. There are numerous from California including one of the state's most richly flavored, 2011 Beckmen in Santa Ynez Valley ($18).

There are also ros? made from other grape varieties, and whose aromas, tastes and structures differ from one another slightly.

Carol Shelton Dry Ros?($15) is made primarily from Carignane; in 2011, Phoenix Winery in Lodi made a Cinsault Ros?($18); Valley of the Moon in Sonoma County has long made a Rosato di Sangiovese ($16), and 2011 Pedroncelli Zinfandel Ros?is excellent.

Many different versions of Rh?e Valley-styled ros? (with Syrah in the blend) are now on store shelves, including the well-priced La Vieille Ferme from France.

As if that weren't enough, we are now seeing a new entrant into the dry ros?field: vintage-dated generic blends that are not necessarily based on single grapes.

Among those are 2011s from Francis Ford Coppola (a Monterey County wine called Sofia); Washington's Milbrandt (Tradtions Ros?; Clayhouse of San Miguel (Adobe Pink) and Napa Valley's Benessere (Rosato).

Consumers have a far greater range of ros?choices than ever before, but not many wineries make a lot of ros? Most such projects are small, and are targeted toward instant drinking.

Aging is not recommended.

Wine of the Week: 2011 Field Stone Ros?of Petite Sirah, Alexander Valley, Heritage Block ($20): One of the most dramatic pink wines I have tasted in a long time. The aroma has watermelons and strawberries, and the finish is dry and seems targeted toward food. John Staten made a dry Petite Sirah ros?in 1986, which I then went crazy for. This is his second effort and it's equally dramatic.

Sonoma County resident Dan Berger publishes "Vintage Experiences," a weekly wine newsletter. Write to him at winenut@gmail.com.