Looks like cran-apple juice. (OK, that was supposed to be flattering.)

Looks like cran-apple juice. (OK, that was supposed to be flattering.)

Tastes like — closes eyes — a spritzy, semi-sweet, slightly strawberry-flavored sip. 

Rose is the product of grape juice that ferments for just a bit with its red-wine skins, but only long enough to transfer a pink color (and a bit of flavor). It’s then aged much like a white wine, often bottled early to make sure it has rose’s signature “fresh” taste.

Rose is often made from a blend of grapes, but this 2013 Mulderbosch ($12 at Gentiles) is labeled a “cabernet sauvignon rose,” loud and proud. That means it’s made 100 percent from those grapes — but the rose style means it’s far from the typical bold, dry and tannic cab.

Instead, it’s fruity and a good bit acidic, with strawberry, citrus fruit and black cherry flavors dominating. Each sip ends with a bubbly little zest that’s equal parts pleasantly sweet and bitingly fresh.

The wine is made in South Africa, a major wine region that produces everything from port and shiraz to chenin blanc and chardonnay; this rose hails from the Coastal Region.

When it comes to rose: to refrigerate, or not to refrigerate? You probably guessed yes, and you’d be right. Refrigeration is most recommended for wines with any kind of “sweet” factor, and rose’s recommended serving temperature is 51 degrees — so it’ll especially hit the spot at the end of one of these 80-degree September days. Try it with a spinach salad sprinkled with blue cheese and pear slices, or a summer’s-not-over-yet seafood dish like tuna or crab cakes.

Photo by Meghan Ralston