Muri-Gries Lagrein Rosato 2010

A stunning 11th century fortress turned into a Benedictine monastery, Muri-Gries is not your typical winery. The fairly large estate, located in Süd Tyrol, in northwestern Italy, is not just a winery, it’s also an orchard and a working farm.

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There are certain things that happen in life that are so completely unforeseen, and yet so completely enriching, that you wonder what life would have been like without them.

Such a thing happened to me a little over a year ago, when I met Markus Stolz on Twitter.

Markus is a German-born financier and wine aficionado who fell in love with a Greek woman, moved to Greece to raise a family with her – and then, to his bewilderment, fell equally in love with Greek wines.

Within a few weeks of reading Markus on Twitter and on his very informative, and very popular blog,, I found myself asking about Greek wines whenever I walked into a wine store. Then of course came the part that I hadn’t expected: I, too, fell in love with Greek wines.

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Sweet, ripe tomatoes and rosé are a match made in heaven! But the rosé needs to be bone-dry, with round fruit notes and a clean finish.

Think rosés made with Southern Rhône and Italian varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignane and Sangiovese.

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Bocconcini and Basil

Wine pick: Bonny Doon Vineyard, 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare, Santa Cruz CA. $15.

I will confess I am partial to Bonny Doon’s wines, but the 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare is one of the finest rosés I’ve tasted. I keep several bottles well chilled at all times.

A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Roussanne, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache Blanc, it is perhaps untypical of a Southern Rhône rosé since two white grapes (Roussane and Grenache Blanc) have found their way into the blend — but to me, the 2008 Vin Gris de Cigare is a quintessential rosé.

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