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A Fresh, Lively Rosé

An early taste of East Coast Indian summer last week inspired me to open a line-up of chilled rosés. The finesse and elegance of this 2010 Wolffer Estate Grandioso Rosé from Long Island really impressed me — and made me question, once again, why so many of us act as if only Memorial Day to Labor Day can be rosé season. The Wolffer’s subtle ripe fruitiness, fresh lively acidity and delicious dry chalky savor remind me of rosés from Provence.

It has the same pale coppery-salmon color and the same versatility with food. The Wolffer rosé was delicious with our entire dinner, from aperitif, to olive and tomato salad, to spicy grilled shrimp and a soft cheese afterward.

But the red grapes in this wine are Bordeaux varieties merlot and cabernet franc, which do well in the Long Island East End’s breezy maritime climate. And winemaker Roman Roth blends in a hefty dash of chardonnay, which Provence’s winemakers would consider heretical. To keep the wine vibrant in 2010’s hot growing season, Roth picked three weeks earlier than usual.

Of the winery’s two rosés, this is the more serious and expensive, a big step up from the regular bottling.

Wolffer Estate, on Long Island’s South Fork, not far from the Hamptons, started out as a potato farm. The late German-born international businessman Christian Wolffer bought it for a retreat more than 30 years ago, then developed a state-of-the-art equestrian center, planting grapes in 1987. Now the vineyard has grown to 55 acres of vines.

From the beginning, Roth, who studied in Germany, established a wine style direction that combines up-front fruit and European elegance.

Both shine in this rosé, which deserves a place on the table even when it’s not summer.

Zester Daily contributor Elin McCoy is a wine and spirits columnist and author of “The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste.”