Provence offers a just right, light and airy wine for spring

With temperatures rising, it is a good time of year to enjoy a chilled rose wine.

While rose wines are completely different in style and taste from the so-called "blush" wines from California many Americans are used to drinking, rose wines have both charm and finesse that are worth seeking out.

Commanderie de la Bargemone Rose is from Provence, France, which is known for its light, airy rose wines that are easy to drink and a perfect match for the cuisine from this region.

Because the pressed grape juice stays in contact with the grape skins for a short period of time, the wine does not turn red, but rather a deep, almost salmon orange-pink color. The vinification takes place without the use of wood and is usually faster than that employed for the red wines made from these grapes varietals. We therefore get all the nice fruit, but without the "interference" of oak so the wine stays bone dry. It would even work well as an aperitif all on its own.

In the glass, this Bargemone Rose wine is an antique rose color with streaks of salmon pink. It is a clean, crisp-looking wine with medium-high viscosity and good orange to clear rim definition.

On the nose, there are soft cypress notes, with red stone fruit, strawberries, red currant juice, crushed cranberries, minerals and wet rock.

In the mouth, the wine is fruity and lively on the palate with just a touch of upfront sweetish strawberry coulis, then white cranberry juice without the sugar, pomegranate seeds and currants. The midpalate is rounded and zesty, but shows nice balance between the fruit and acidity and has a charming element of dryness that leads to a fine dry fruit finish.

This is an ideal wine for seafood or fish dishes, and would be something special to serve when you are tired of white wine. It should be served chilled to 52 degrees Fahrenheit and will drink well during the next one to two years.

Wine: Commanderie de la Bargemone Rose

Grape: Grenache (70 percent), carignane (30 percent)

Vintage: 2005

Region: Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, Southern France

Price: $12.99

Gil Lempert-Schwarz's wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at