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By The Glass


Grab a seat
on the big pink bus

A few decades ago, in what now seems another life, I was pursuing a banking career in Los Angeles. My first goal as a management trainee was to assemble the correct wardrobe. Following a recommendation, I visited a salesman at a trendy Century City clothier whose first suggestion was a very well-tailored three-piece suit that had just one severe drawback -- it came in pink only.

My first thoughts were that he was being funny or perhaps he was questioning my masculinity. Or maybe he had mistakenly heard me say I was dressing for a career in pimping instead of banking.

I settled on a banker-gray suit, but the salesman convinced me to try on the pink shocker. It took a great deal of will power NOT to purchase it. After all, this was the disco cool '70s.

Where is all this leading? Pink wine, of course ... pink as in rosé. If you have a wine passion, drink rosé! If you want to be cool, hip and trendy, drink rosé! If you love food, drink rosé! Get on the pink bus and you'll never get off.

To begin, have fun with these "pretty in pink" Italian selections:

Castello di Ama Rosato 2001 ($15.95): The jewel-toned watermelon and peach hues of this fantastic rosé are a true delight to behold. The flinty strawberry, watermelon, rose and peach nose create a refined impression. The elegance continues with flavors of watermelon and limestone, finishing with hints of lemon and citrusy acidity.

Gargiulo Rosato di Sangiovese 2001 ($10.95): The Gargiulo family has set its sights on producing the finest Italian-styled wines in California. This sangiovese stands as testament to the family's tremendous skill at crafting a superb light, refreshing and well-balanced wine. Aromas of watermelon, peach, green beans, rose and minerals abound. The refreshing flavors of white peach, ripe watermelon, citrus and crunchy acidity make this the perfect quencher for the dog days of August. I haven't been impressed with the Cal-Ital movement, but this rosato certainly stole my heart. That's amore!

Rosé di Regaleali 2000 ($11.95): Regaleali is without a doubt one of the greatest Italian rosés ever produced. This perennial favorite reflects the sunny and warm Sardinian climate with its riper flavors and deeper red-tinged color. Cherry and red-raspberry aromas harmonize with the flavors of tart red berry and an ultra-clean finish.

Lyle Fujioka owns Fujioka's Wine Merchants.

This column is a weekly lesson in wine
pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals.
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