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B.C. boards the new blush bandwagon

CONSIDERING that only a few years back it just wasn't considered cool to "drink pink," rosé's rise in popularity has been swift, to say the least.

CONSIDERING that only a few years back it just wasn't considered cool to "drink pink," rosé's rise in popularity has been swift, to say the least.

Not unlike Riesling, good rosé languished in the shadows cast by sweet commercial wines masquerading as rosé. Even small wineries for a long time coveted big brand successes of blush wines, such as white Zinfandel-a fortuitous mistake that turned Sutter Home into a household word, and still often thought to be a de rigeuer inclusion on any wine list hoping to snare travelling Americans.

However, the more palatable fact is that both winemakers and consumers have begun to take rosé a whole lot more seriously and have become understanding of its appeal and flexibility as an enjoyable food wine- something the French and Spanish figured out a few generations back.

In a relatively short time, B.C. has climbed onto the rosé bandwagon, with a wide range of wines that seem to have blossomed with the 2010 vintage.

It's fair to say they come in just about every style, even if the number of bone dry contenders is still lacking. Rising to the top, interestingly, are a number of well made Syrah, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier rosés (some with small amounts of other varieties) more than worth the search.

As far as what to eat with it, take your pick. Grilled salmon would be stellar. Or just sip and toast the sun- when it gets here.

Stag's Hollow Syrah Rosé 2010

This vivid, salmon-toned drop bursts with strawberries, a hint of citrus and a hint of orange from small amounts of Muscat and Viognier. Refreshingly drier than many, but full-fruited through a long finish. Think grilled salmon or chicken. Another solid indication of how this Okanagan Falls stalwart is upping its game. $18.99 at VQA stores.

Calliope Rosé 2010 (Syrah)

This wine is among the first releases of Burrowing Owl's second label, a name they purchased from original brand owners Ross and Cherie Mirko. Forward, red berry notes with juicy, fruity overtones on a lush, slightly off-dry palate. Screwcap. VQA $13.99.

8th Generation Rosé 2010 (Pinot Meunier)

A burst of wild strawberry up front, off dry with more citrus flavours mid palate towards a zesty finish. $19.99

Quails Gate Rosé 2010 (Gamay Noir/10 per cent Pinot Noir)

Nicely fruited but drier overall, with some earthy notes and mouthwatering acidity in a little leaner, more food-friendly style. How come Wills and Kate missed out on this one? Screwcap. VQA $14.99

Cedar Creek Rosé 2010 (Pinot Noir)

This is the winery's first rosé, made by new winemaker Darryl Brooker. Generous up front red fruit dominated by strawberry notes with a broad palate, good length and well balanced acidity.

Very food friendly. They call it "Pinot Noir unplugged"- and we agree. Screwcap. VQA $17.90