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Drink pink! Make rosé your year-round go-to wine

Every year, a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his burrow and predicts whether we’ll have an early spring or six more weeks of winter. Whether you’re yearning for another snow day or counting down the hours until you can pull your flip-flops out of storage, we’ve got the perfect elixir. Curl up in front of the fireplace, binge-watch your favorite show and grab a glass of rosé.

Chances are when you think of rosé, you’re picturing lounging around the pool in your shorts, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that scream, “Look at me, I might be famous.” Truth is, pink wine is just red wine incognito. It’s perfect for sipping all year long.

There are many who eschew rosé, mistakenly believing that pink means sweet. They’re only familiar with blush wines like white Zinfandel and have yet to discover delicious dry varieties like 2017 Conundrum Rosé from California.

Conundrum is made by the Wagner family who founded Caymus Vineyards in Napa Valley in 1971. Made primarily from Valdiguié, a largely unknown grape sourced from Paso Robles, 2017 Conundrum Rosé is fruity but not at all sweet. The winemaker points out that it’s bolder than you might expect. Open a bottle of this and you may be propelled to cruise with your convertible’s top down in frosty February.

What is Valdiguié?

Not a lot of Valdiguié (pronounced val dee gay) is grown in California. For years, it existed in a state of mistaken identity. The story goes that California’s Valdiguié was believed to be Gamay – it was even dubbed Napa Gamay – until a Frenchman came along and straightened everyone out. Both grape varietals originate from France, which has been making dry rosé practically forever and where pink wine is as central to the culture as a 2€ baguette.

2017 Conundrum Rosé is a bargain, too. At just $16 a bottle ($12 for platinum members), you can afford the whole case so you’ll have extras on hand to share. The wine offers aromas of watermelon, strawberries and ripe peaches and flavors of berries, pomegranate and citrus, perfect for when you want to experience summer vacation on a chilly day. Also ideal when you want to impress your friends as being in on the latest trend. Rosé’s hip-factor has swelled in recent years thanks to being both versatile and affordable, and now that you know the story of Valdiguié, your wine geekiness just climbed a notch.

How is rosé wine made?

With the exception of pink Champagne, most pink wines aren’t made from mixing red wine and white. To create rosé, red grapes are crushed and the juice parties with the skins for a short time, resulting in pretty hues ranging from pale coral to salmon. This winemaking process is called maceration. The longer the maceration, the deeper the color and more flavorful the rosé. Whether you desire a bright and breezy drink or something fuller bodied, there’s a rosé for every occasion. 2017 Conundrum Rosé, with its lovely rose-gold tint, is a good choice for lunch, dinner or on its own.

What foods pair with rosé wine?

Rosé is one of the most multitalented, food-friendly wines. If you’re used to only serving red or white wine with your meal, pop open a pink instead. Rosé wines pair beautifully with cheeses, especially ricotta and goat, as well as pastas, salads, charcuterie, fish, shellfish, chicken and grilled vegetables. Got a sweet tooth like we do? For dessert, try rosé with berry cobbler, fruit tarts, strawberry cheesecake, layer cakes or meringue.

Rosé is also a crowd-pleasing mixer. For a refreshing wine spritzer, top off with club soda and a slice of lemon. Or concoct a delightful sangria by adding green apple, oranges, peaches or berries. Crank up Bob Marley, pass out leis to all your guests and you’ll soon be living the island life even if the skies are gray and gloomy.

Cheers to choices!

We think you’re going to like 2017 Conundrum Rosé. But if you’re still craving red, you should consider trying 2016 Caymus Conundrum Red Blend at just $22 ($18) for platinum members) a bottle. Whatever you choose, raise your glass to cheer Phil’s choice of weather because regardless of a gopher’s prediction, we see longer than six more weeks of wine in your future.