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Instead of doing my usual thing — picking through every rack at Calvert Woodley, wasting an hour looking for my bottle — I decided to buttonhole a floor clerk to help me find Domaines Ott‘s 2007 vintage of Côtes de Provence rosé. Citronelle sommelier Kathryn Morgan introduced me to this wine during  a recent press dinner; I told Pepi Almodovar, the personable wine guru at Calvert, that it was the best rosé I’ve ever had.

He harrumphed a dismissive harrumph.

Almodovar then directed me to a 2007 bottle of Château d’Esclans rosé, which he pronounced the best in the world. At $39.99 a bottle, I thought, it better be at least a Top 10 player.

Then Almodovar told me that Calvert was the only wine store in the country to carry Château d’Esclans rosé, which pretty much meant I had to buy it now. I mean, the combination of exclusivity, expensive price, and excessive praise presses more of my buttons than Rachael Ray on Iron Chef.

Whether I loved it or hated it, I knew I had a good story to tell.

It’s almost a shame that I loved the bottle as much as I did. I popped the cork on this rosé, a combination of grenache and rolle, on Saturday night at a friend’s dinner party. In the glass, the wine practically refracted light like a diamond. Its color was pale pink, almost quartz-like in its understated intensity.

The rosé was dry, but not too dry. Its light strawberry sweetness didn’t overwhelm the palate. Not that the fruit stood a chance against the wine’s other characteristics, such as its slight chalkiness and mineral flavors, not to mention its somewhat spicy finish. This was a rosé you could drink all night — and never stop discovering something new on your tongue.  My bottle of d’Esclans was so vibrant, in fact, that it stood up to the stuffed brisket that my friend served for dinner. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

I have to give it to Pepi. This rosé is superior to Domaines Ott’s. But is it the best in the world? You got me. I still have a few more to try.

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