Our Wine of the Week, Las Rocas de San Alejandro Calatayud 2012 Rosé ($12), should go a ways towards dispelling rosé's continuing reputation for cloying sweetness.
In regions such as ours, this is less of a problem than it is in areas with limited access to a great diversity of wine, but it is still easy to find people who dismiss pink wines as unworthy. Yet a well-made rosé is not a sophomoric wine, no matter what you remember about, say, Boone Farm Strawberry Hill from your college days.
This wine has an engaging mineral quality, a cool, rocky finesse that is deliciously refreshing during warm fall evenings like we've had recently. Fruit flavors evoke raspberries and strawberries, but in a very subtle way, like a shadow or a whisper. If you were to drink this blind, you might identify it as a white wine, though most of us would be hard-pressed to name a varietal. It is 100 percent garnacha, or grenache, a red grape.
On first sip, I found myself thinking of wild Pacific King salmon, though, sadly, its season is winding down. This classy quaffer would be excellent with salmon ceviche or slow-roasted salmon with nothing more than a spritz of lemon.
In a few weeks, when Dungeness crab season opens, you'll enjoy it with a traditional crab Louis, crab cakes and even a simple fresh crab sandwich. It is also excellent with Hawaiian poke, shrimp, fresh tuna and seared scallops.
The wine is true to its Spanish roots, too: It is excellent with paella and lovely alongside slices of jamon serrano ham, Spanish chorizo sausage and Manchego cheese.
For today's recipe, how about something really simple? I've combined three classic dishes to create a simple tapas plate, perfect for sitting outside on a warm evening. Vegetarians can simply omit the charcuterie.
Early Fall Tapas Plate
Makes 2 servings, easily doubled
4 thin cantaloupe or other muskmelon slices