image from www.freixenetusa.comIf most wine drinkers know Freixenet, it’s from the black bottle that they see at the grocery store. And the black bottle is decent enough $9 Spanish sparkling wine, or cava.

Sometimes, though, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll see the black bottle’s cousin, a rose cava called Rosado ($9, purchased, available Kroger). It’s a step up from the black bottle — a little fruitier and a little more polished. In this, it sits between two of my favorite rose cavas, the Cristalino at $7 and the Seguras Viudas at $10.

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The wine is made with trepat, a Spanish grape used only for cava, and garnacha, the Spanish version of grenache. Hence some soft red fruit (strawberry?), as well as a little yeastiness and lots of bubbles. In this, it’s an excellent example of how a multi-national producer can turn out a cheap wine with character.

The Rosado will handle New Year’s ably, whether it’s for toasting on Saturday night, for brunch on Sunday morning or for sipping anytime this week. And it’s an excellent food wine; I drank it with oven fried chicken and it was delicious. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2013 $10 Hall of Fame.