Finding the right place to drink the right ros?might just be the height of ambition in summer, and in that quest we are happy to help.
Made from all manner of grapes — from pinot noir to cabernet sauvignon — ros? offer refreshment in warmer weather and with lighter foods. But when masterfully made, they also maintain enough acidity and tannin to stand up to a complete meal.
Balletto 2011 Ros?of Pinot Noir ($18): A fine aperitif wine, this ros?is made from the free-run juice of newly pressed pinot noir grapes and, being from the heart of the Russian River Valley, has fresh notes of apple and pear, interestingly enough, with a hint of lime in the background that balances the wine's bright acidity. Balletto's lovely tasting room also hosts many local events, including an upcoming evening artist reception (July 13) where wine and appetizers will be served.
5700 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa, 568-2455, ballettovineyards.com.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery 2011 Sofia Ros?($19): Francis' beautifully produced homage to his director daughter, the Sofia Ros?is a blend of syrah and grenache grapes, crisp and dry. It's the ideal afternoon libation by the Coppola Winery pool, open daily now from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ($20 per person), or while playing bocce, backgammon or chess in the winery's nearby play area.
300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, 857-1471, franciscoppolawinery.com.
Fritz Underground Wine Cellars 2012 Estate Ros?($20): A blend of zinfandel, malbec and pinot noir that includes grapes from Fritz's 30-year-old zin vines, this wine is dry and refreshing, flavored like a burst of strawberry and cherry mixed with a subtle dollop of cream soda. Only 100 cases were made. Enjoy it at Fritz's lovely property north of Healdsburg, where views await of the Dry Creek Valley below and underground caves provide a respite from the summer's heat.
24691 Dutcher Creek Road, Cloverdale, (800) 418-WINE, fritzwinery.com.
Gundlach Bundschu Tempranillo Ros?($24): Gun-Bun's sprawling historic site outside of the town of Sonoma is a charming spot to picnic and drink this crisp, tea-and-peach flavored wine any time of year. But consider the winery's special summertime events as added incentive, from the Midsummer Mozart Festival (July 21 and July 28) to the Summer Fun Film Fest (August 4) to its second annual Ducky Derby (August 19).
2000 Denmark St., Sonoma, 938-5277, gunbun.com.
Inman Family Wines 2010 Ros?of Pinot Noir OGV "Endless Crush" ($30): Only made every other year, this wine sells out fast when it's around and for good reason. It's a dry, delicious, passionfruit and strawberry-reminiscent Provencal-style ros?made by Kathleen Inman from Olivet Grange Vineyard-grown pinot noir. In homage to the fact that she first harvested fruit for the wine on her 20th wedding anniversary to husband Simon, the name "Endless Crush" was added. Have it with a picnic of bread, cheese and cornichons at the Inmans' lovely, relaxed Russian River Valley winery, the first in the county to offer a privately owned public charging station for electric cars.
3900 Piner Road, Santa Rosa, 293-9576, inmanfamilywines.com.
Kitchak Cellars 2011 Scherzo Cabernet Rosato ($35): A newcomer to the Napa Valley, nestled east of the Silverado Trail just north of the town of Napa, Kitchak makes Scherzo, a cabernet rosato from 100 percent cabernet sauvignon grapes picked specifically for the wine, not bled off. Fully dry and fermented in oak, it has some meat on its bones but is completely dry, tasting of pomegranate and just-ripe watermelon. Enjoy it by appointment only alongside the Kitchak's serene private lake.