The Bandol rosé with which I celebrate birthdays and most major warm weather occasions now, Domaine Tempier, costs about $40 a bottle. I've still got a couple of bottles tucked away, but I'm on the hunt for alternatives. Previously, I've loved Pradeaux and Domaine Sorin.
Domaine Dupuy de Lôme (don't let the difficult-to-remember name put you off) is a real find. The vineyard is sustainably farmed, which is expensive, yet Gérald Damidot is producing a beautiful Bandol rosé for about $20. A blend of 70% Mourvedre with 20% Grenache and the balance Cinsault, the 2011 is dry and zesty with notes of apricot and rose petals and a complexity that makes it ideal for summer foods.
This is the wine for bouillabaisse, for steamed mussels, grilled fish — and le grand aïoli. I also like it with Thai food. Or just open a bottle for an apéritif with a bowl of dark, wrinkled olives and pretend you're sitting on a terrace overlooking the vineyards and the little harbor at Bandol.
Price: About $20
Style: Dry and complex
What it goes with: Bouillabaisse, grilled fish, Thai food.
Where to find it: Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, http://www.klwines.com; Laguna Culinary Arts Gourmet Cheese and Wine Shop, (949) 494-4006, http://www.lagunaculinaryarts.com/pages/cheese_wine_shop; Silverlake Wine in Los Angeles, (323) 662-9024, http://www.silverlakewine.com; the Wine Country in Signal Hill, (562) 597-8303, http://www.thewinecountry.com; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, http://www.winex.com; and the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com.