Charles & Charles RoséCharles & Charles Rosé ($10) Washington

This month marks the 11th annual Advocate rosé column where we celebrate pink wine that costs $10, pairs with almost any kind of food you can think of, and — despite what the wine snobs say — isn’t sweet or unpleasant to drink.

In this, rosé is pretty much the perfect cheap wine. That it’s not more popular is a function of its color — it’s too often confused with white zinfandel (or white merlot or whatever), so wine drinkers shy away from it because they think it’s sweet. In fact, most rosés are bone-dry and combine the best qualities of red and white wines.

What should you drink? This will get you started:

• Rene Barbier Mediterranean Rosé ($6). Maybe the best cheap rosé on the market, consistent and varietally correct. This version has a little more fruit (strawberry) than usual.

• Goats do Roam Rosé ($10). This South African wine is very nicely done and a fine value, with flavors of strawberry and cranberry. It’s more like a European rosé — crisper and less fruity — than its New World cousins.

• Charles & Charles Rosé ($10). The quintessential New World-style rosé, with lots of fruit (mostly strawberry), as well as style and structure. One of my favorite rosés every year.


Ask the wine guy

Q: Why is rosé pink?

A: Rosés are made mostly with red grapes, and they get their color from the skins. The skins are left in the fermenting grape juice just long enough to color the wine and are then removed.