The Wino Gets Stinking Swacked on Rose

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Hey, fellow lushes! Last week, I ended the very first Wino in a drink pink postscript, recommending one of my favorite roses (the Barnard-Griffin Rose of Sangiovese, which sells for around $11).

Now that summer has finally kicked in--can I hear a hell yeah for cracking 80?--I'm on a two-month blush bender and I want to share the juicy love. So I brought a few bottles of rose to an all-girls cookout last weekend at my buddy JP's place. and while we compared pedicures--Robin's was the best--and bitched about men--sorry guys, we do love you, we really do--we sucked down some pretty sweet stuff.

And by sweet, I don't mean sticky. Because today's pink wines are about a million times better than the syrupy "white" Zinfandel that started a wine revolution in the 1970s.

That was when California winemakers were stuck with a whole bunch of Zinfandel grapes, and while sitting around getting tanked on PBR one night, they hatched a plan to make that wine a hit. Add sugar! (OK, so I'm playing fast and loose with history, but there's no denying this country nearly drowned in a sea of mediocre blush wine way back when.)

Maybe that's why so many people are quick to dismiss roses. But let's get one thing straight: Just because it looks like cherry Kool-Aid doesn't mean it tastes like cherry Kool-Aid. They don't add food coloring or sugar to make these wines, but leave the skins of red wine grapes in the mix for a little bit at the beginning of the wine-making process. It's kind of like when your boyfriend washed your pristine white shirt with his red softball shorts. (But how can you be pissed? At least he did the laundry!)

These new and improved pinks are as pretty as a summer sunset over Elliott Bay, easy to sip alongside a big fat weenie from the grill. (Hey, Sigmund, don't judge our choice of meat at this all-gals grill fest! We envy no organ!)

The bottle that emptied first was from a small new winery in Redmond called Vortex Cellars, which was followed by Waterbrook's Sangiovese Rose and some French wine that we decided was too sophisticated for our sassy palates. The Vortex sells for $15, and, yes, I know that's pushing the limits of The Wino's search for a cheap drunk, but I'm deep in negotiations to get a buck knocked off the price if you buy it at Wine World on 45th and I-5. Which, by the way, has free wine tastings every day. That's right, FREE! (From 6 to 8 weekdays and 2 to 5 on weekends.)

Bonus points for Waterbrook's screwtop! The Wino loves the Stelvin closure. (Drop that into a conversation with wine snobs and watch their eyes spin. Hey, maybe that's the start of a new drinking game.)

Now, one final note: Some of the roses from the 2010 vintage have a bit of a pokey edge. (That's because it was a cooling growing season.) But don't sweat it. If you find yourself on a bad acid trip, slice some apples, add a splash of simple syrup, some fizzy water, and--Ole!--instant Sangria!

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