BERGER: Pink is in

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).

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