2017 D'Orsay Rose
Cotes de Provence, France
The fertile land near the delta of the Rhone river is known as Cotes de Provence. Agriculture is the main industry in the region, but it is in viticulture that Provence truly shines. Rose wines made with grenache and syrah grapes set the world standard because of the delicacy and expression of the region's style. Chateau D'Orsay produces one of the area's top-rated wines, and drinking it begins on the nose with a rush of wildflower aromas. On the palate, taste strawberry and raspberry notes and a hint of anise. It is dry and crisp with 13 percent alcohol content. Serve it chilled with a wide range of dishes or drink it on its own. Buy it at: Grande Krewe Fine Wine & Spirits, Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits, Breaux Mart on Severn Avenue, many Robert Fresh Markets, Lakeview Grocery, Rouses on Gen. DeGaulle Drive and in Gretna, Dorignac's and Saia's Super Meat Market. Drink it at: The Backyard, The Munch Factory, La Madeleine and Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar.
2015 Namorio Albarino
Rias Baixas, Spain
Galicia in northwest Spain on the northern Atlantic Ocean provides a distinct climate for raising quality wine grapes. Albarino is the grape most closely associated with the region, and it also is used to make fine white wines in northern Portugal, where it's called alvarinho. The Galicia region has five sub-zones along Spain's coast. Rias Baixas, a Denominacion de Origen-classified zone, is Galicia's most prominent, due to the work of progressive producers who have implemented modern winemaking techniques and focused on the region's signature varietal. Rias Baixas is named after the coastal inlets, or estuarine inlets, which flow as far as 20 miles inland. Cooling ocean influences on the vineyards help maintain the distinct aromatics and crispness of the wine. Granite soils help infuse it with an intense mineral character. In the glass, it is very aromatic — though chilling the wine too much mutes its elegant bouquet. On the palate, the velvety, golden-colored wine has a pronounced flavor of stone fruits such as apricot and peach. Drink it with seafood, pasta, arugula salad and appetizers. Buy it at: The Wine Seller and Nesbit's Markets.
Cerqueira Vinho Verde Rose
Vinho Verde does not mean "green wine" but rather "young wine." Still, there is confusion over whether Vinho Verde is a grape, a style of wine or a place. It's a place with a distinct style. The place is northern Portugal in the town of Porto, bounded by a river and the ocean. Vinho Verdes are usually made from Portuguese varietals that aren't familiar to most wine drinkers. The wines also are typically low in alcohol at around 12 percent, and many of them are a little spritzy, which makes them good for quenching a thirst on a warm day. The light carbonation in Vinho Verde usually is added at the end of the fermentation process via a small amount of carbon dioxide. This rose is made from the sturdy Portuguese varietal souzao, a thick-skinned dark grape. On the palate, taste cherry and good acidity. Serve chilled and drink it with salads, seafood, Asian dishes and other foods. Buy it at: Lakeview Grocery, Rouses on Carrollton Avenue and Nesbit's Market at Poeyfarre Street.
2016 Maison les Alexandrins
Vin de France
Its origins are mysterious, but the viognier varietal produces wines that are aromatic, fleshy and delightfully elegant. The grape likely dates to the days of the Roman Empire, and its home in France is in the northern Rhone region. Viognier is the only white grape permitted in the area surrounding the town of Condrieu, and this wine is a prime example of what the region is capable of producing. It also is the result of an international partnership — an alliance joined in rescuing the grape from extinction after World War II. In 2012, three renowned winemakers from the northern Rhone were concerned about the loss of viognier's French identity after viognier projects in Australia and California gained attention. Nicolas Jaboulet is the sixth generation of a family that has been making wine since 1834 in Tain l'Hermitage. Guillaume Sorrel is the son of Marc Sorrel, famous for his Domaine Marc Sorrel. Alexandre Caso is a Rhone Valley-based soil and climate specialist. They teamed up to produce a wine that defines the viognier grape, full of stone fruit qualities such as aromas of apricots and peaches, as well as flowers. On the palate, there is a hint of honey. Buy it at: Martin Wine Cellar. Drink it at: The Bombay Club, Red Fish Grill and Cafe Amelie.
2017 VINO Rose
With 50,000 acres of vineyards, Washington State produces more wine than any U.S. state except California. An abundance of free-draining silt and sandy soils are nature's gift to Washington viticulture, along with an average of 17 hours of sunlight per day in the growing season — two hours more than California. Among the 70 varietals planted in the state, Washington wineries have had success with sangiovese, the signature wine from Italy's Tuscany region. It is used in this delicious rose from winemaker Charles Smith, and is indicative of his style of bright, fresh roses. It has flavors of melon, cherry, herbs and orange zest. Serve chilled and drink it as an aperitif or with snacks and light fare. Buy it at: Breaux Mart on Magazine Street, Rouses on Tchoupitoulas Street and Power Boulevard in Metairie and Gretna, Dorignac's, Canseco's Markets, Langenstein's in Metairie, Lakeview Grocery, Quartermaster Deli, Robert Fresh Market and Simone's Market. Drink it at: Drago's Seafood Restaurant, La Thai Cuisine, Fulton Alley, Cloud 9 Bistro, Rendezvous Tavern and The Tchoup Yard.
NV Champalou Vouvray Brut
Loire Valley, France
With the U.S. surpassing Britain as the nation thirstiest for Champagne and sparkling wines, more European sparklers have made their way to our shores. This gem from France's Loire Valley offers quality, diversity and a good price. The region is one of France's most varied, producing a wide range of wines. The Loire's dynamic climate gets most of the credit, with weather wavering from Continental to Mediterranean. Loire is best known for its sauvignon blancs, but it also is praised for its chenin blancs and cabernet Francs. Many expressive Loire wines are naturally high in acidity and can age gracefully. For Champalou, Vouvray's sustainably farmed chenin blanc vineyards have clay and limestone soils. After an early morning harvest, the must was fermented in stainless steel and crafted in the methode traditionelle: a secondary fermentation happens in the bottle, and the wine ages on its lees for two years. In the glass, it offers floral notes and aromas of lemon and orange zest. On the palate, taste complex flavors of pear and citrus, good acidity and minerality. Drink it with seafood, charcuterie, roasted or fried chicken and other foods. Buy it at: Spirit Wine.
2017 Kim Crawford Rose
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Kim Crawford is renowned for his New Zealand sauvignon blanc wines, which influenced the nation's current generation of winemakers. Kim and his wife Erica sold his name and the brand 15 years ago, and while the couple are no longer involved, their vision and direction have been preserved by the new owner, Constellation Brands. From the historic Hawke's Bay area on the eastern edge of the North Island, this surprisingly good rose is made from merlot grapes. The wine's pale color is achieved by limiting its contact with grape skins. In the glass, the wine offers floral aromas. On the palate, taste strawberry, raspberry, cherry, tropical fruit and watermelon. Buy it at: Brady's Wine Warehouse, Canseco's Market on Esplanade Avenue, Breaux Mart; Langenstein's in Metairie; Lakeview Grocery, Robert Fresh Markets, most Rouses, A&M Food Store, Unique General Store, Red Zone and The Wine Market in Slidell. Drink it at: Drago's Seafood Restaurant, Aloft New Orleans Downtown, Charles Seafood and Heads & Tails Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar.
Planet Oregon Pinot Noir
In the early 1960s, at about the same time the California wine industry began producing better quality grapes and wines, the same thing happened in the cool, moist climate of Oregon's expansive Willamette Valley. Oregon's prized grape became pinot noir, which is difficult to cultivate in many regions. Pinot has helped Oregon's wine industry grow to more than 400 wineries with more than 20,000 acres of vineyards. A product of the highly regarded Soter Vineyards, this Planet pinot noir is pure Oregon in its character. It can please red wine enthusiasts but is light enough to drink all summer long. Dark berries yield a dominant cherry character thanks to the long growing season. There is a scent of lavender on the bouquet. On the palate, taste the subtle presence of cinnamon, black pepper, blood orange and cherry cola. The long finish is defined by good acidity which means the wine goes well with a variety of cuisines. Buy it at: Martin Wine Cellar. Drink it at: Brigtsen's, Trenasse, Zea Rotisserie & Bar on Metairie Road and Pontchartrain Expressway and The Delachaise.