Dry rosé is all the rage these days, especially in hot weather. And, really what's not to like? These wines are a mash-up of white and red wine flavors that give us a little of the best of both worlds because they are made from red wine grapes but fermented in the chilled steel tanks used for white winemaking. The real secret behind the popularity of these pink wines, though, is a fact that most wine drinkers are unaware of: to make a good rosé wine, dark-skinned grapes must be picked early, before they reach the level of ripeness needed for making a good red wine. Why does under-ripeness in grapes help make pink wine popular? The main reason is that picking grapes early reduces costs and gets the wine to market faster. Both of these effects lead to lower shelf prices, to every wine drinker's delight. But the other reason is that wines made with under-ripe fruit have lower than average alcohol and higher than average acidity. These are traits that make a wine especially, well, slurpable for lack of a better word. Essentially, low-ripeness styles like dry rosé the adult equivalent of pink lemonade — ideal for warm weather and daytime drinking. For extra savings, consider an ultraefficient package, like this 3L box from California, whose bright, snappy flavors of cranberry and raspberry make it a perfect pick-me-up.
Best of all, the elasticity of the bag, means that any box wine can be frozen to use in place of ice in your cooler for weekend trips, whether it's full or partly depleted. The wine may have a harmless sediment afterward, but don't worry — it will taste just fine. Be sure to wait til the bag thaws completely, though, and shake it up before drinking. This can take a couple days for a full 3L bag, but alcohol melts much faster than water, so the wine will taste boozy and unbalanced if not fully thawed. If you time it right for your camping trip or festival weekend, you'll have a nice cold cooler on day one, and a nice chilled beverage to enjoy on your second evening.
Bota Box Dry Rosé, California. $18.99 (regularly $21.99; sale price through Aug. 26). PLCB Item #2254