Rosé wines get a lot more hype than they deserve. Oh, sure, they are nice to look at, with their salmon and orange hues, and a cool, tall glass evokes thoughts of summer. In general, though, rosés are not very interesting wines; in fact, the vast majority of them are pretty dull – tart fruit flavors, gentle acidity, and not much else.
There are, however, a few rosés that punch well above their weight.
At the top of the list is the Ameztoi Txakolina Rubentis. To translate: This is a rosé from the Basque region of Spain, made by an excellent producer called Ameztoi. Txakolina (also known as Txakoli) is the name of the local wine, and the Ameztoi Rubentis is a blend of two native grapes, Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza. Got all that?
Its details may be complicated, but this is a delicious, fabulously distinctive rosé. Characteristic of Txakolinas, the Ameztoi Rubentis is bottled with some residual carbon dioxide, which gives it a refreshing spritz. The current vintage for the Rubentis is 2011, and it is a gem: Light in color and texture, it has terrific strawberry and citrus flavors, brisk acidity, and a pleasant whiff of brininess (the Ameztoi vineyard is set on a hillside overlooking the Atlantic, just minutes from the city of San Sebastian, Spain's culinary Mecca). With just 10.5 percent alcohol, the Rubentis is a proper thirst-quencher that also happens to pack all the complexity of a top-notch white or red. Northern Spain is serving up lots of compelling wines these days, and the Rubentis is a particularly sublime case in point – a wine that will charm even the most hardened rosé skeptic. [$22, wine-searcher.com]