Wine: Quench your late-summer thirst with these 3 refreshing, bright rosés

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From left, Malene Rosé 2019, Zeni Chiaretto Bardolino Classico 2019, Pink Flamingo Gris de Gris 2019, Guardians Saperavi 2018, Dila-O Saperavi 2018. (Photo by The Washington Post)

As we wait out the dog days of August, here are three outstanding rosés to slake our summer thirst. But these aren’t your typical rosés – one comes from a California winery specializing in pink wines, a second from a little-known Italian region and the third a paler-shade-of-rose from the Mediterranean coast of France. And we have two reds from Georgia, the birthplace of wine, to pair with grilled foods. They are made with the saperavi grape, an ancient variety that is beginning to gain a foothold in the United States, especially New York.

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Malene Rosé 2019

3 stars

Central Coast, Calif., $22

Malene is a California winery devoted to rosé; the grapes come from Santa Barbara County and Paso Robles. This gorgeous wine is a blend of grenache, cinsault and rolle, or vermentino. It is dry but full-bodied for a rosé, with plenty of melon and herbal flavors. You might be tempted to drink this all yourself, but the wine tastes even better when you share it with friends. Alcohol by volume: 12.8%.

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Zeni Chiaretto Bardolino Classico 2019

2.5 stars

Italy, $14

Racy and bright, this lovely rosato from near Lake Garda in northern Italy can take the edge off a summer heat wave. Chiaretto is a special appellation, or denominazione in Italian, for pink wines from a blend of grapes based on corvina and rondinella. ABV: 12.5%.

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Pink Flamingo Gris de Gris 2019

2.5 stars

Sable de Camargue, France, $20

A gris de gris is perhaps the palest style of rosé. This “tête de cuvée” from the Pink Flamingo label (the regular rosé is also delicious) is subtle with a saline character over light flavors of berry fruit and wild herbs. ABV: 13%.

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Guardians Saperavi 2018

2.5 stars

Kakheti, Georgia, $13

Dark cherries, plums, a hint of earthy mushrooms and a faint whiff of distant smoke on a cool night – this medium-bodied red wine is an ideal partner for grilled meats, hearty salads or vegetarian dishes. It also holds up well for several days after opening, a sign of quality and ageability. ABV: 12.5%.

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Dila-O Saperavi 2018

2 stars

Georgia, $15

This saperavi was aged in clay casks called qvevri, the way wine has been made in Georgia for 8,000 years. It is fruitier than the Guardians and a bit more toward sour cherry in flavor, with a hint of varnish. The wild herbs – sage, mint and even rosemary – give it appealing complexity. ABV: 13%.

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3 stars exceptional, 2 stars excellent, 1 star very good

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McIntyre writes about wine weekly. He also blogs at dmwineline.com

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