The 2008 Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec (about $10 at wine shops) is delightfully flirty, all blushes and giggles and so pretty in pink. But she is no mere slip of a thing. She hails from the Mendoza region of Argentina, from the presses of Dominio del Plata, where winemaker Susana Balbo turns out wines with good strong bones. Her rose of malbec is meant to be drunk in the exuberance of its youth.
This wine is a deeper pink than many roses, which is a first clue to its robustness. Its bouquet is lightly floral and fresh but it is the first sip — followed quickly by another and another, in our case — that will light up your brainstem. This wine comes on in an irresistible rush of ripe strawberries, raspberries and cherries tempered by just a hint of astringent gooseberry. And although it is a still wine, we thought we detected the tiniest insinuation of fizz. Put that together with the boisterous fruit and you have something akin to cream soda for the grownup palate. Oh, and it finishes cleanly, too, no mean feat with all that richness rushing at you upfront.
Food pairings? Bouillabaisse for sure, since rose is the classic quaff with the celebrated fish stew of Marseille. It also would pair well with an antipasto platter or a salad of mixed field greens, roasted beets and goat cheese. Or just keep a bottle in the fridge to trot out when your sweetie drops in unannounced for a sundowner.
Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.