The weather’s so bright, you gotta drink shades.
I am going to be super subtle about my feelings for rosé: It should be in your glass 365 days a year. You should drink it from a bottle, a box, a can or a straw. You should have it at Thanksgiving dinner and your July 4th BBQ. Rosé is like a smile. You can wear it anywhere and it just works.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of confusion around rosé. In the 1970’s and 80’s pink wine was sweet and that was pretty much it (remember White Zinfandel? –gasp!). Luckily, the rosé game has been lifted and some would even argue it is warm weather’s MVP. Our thirst for rosé is making it difficult for winemakers to keep up (I am looking at you, Provence).
If you lined up all the varying shades and styles of rosé from lightest to darkest, you would have one very long, gorgeous pink rainbow. You have to understand that, because rosé can be made from virtually any red grape in any wine growing region, in all different climates all over the world, there is NO way you can say, “I don’t like rosé.” Seriously. Please don’t be that person. I thought we were friends.
Not only is rosé delicious, but it pairs with just about any food. Think of rosé as a white wine that can drink like a red wine. It can be light, crisp and minerally, or it can be full-bodied and loaded with fruits and cooking spices. Have it with salads and cheeses, have it with seafood, a hamburger or sushi. Rosé plays well with everyone.
One important note on purchasing: Because of the way it is made, rosé is meant to be drunk when it is young. With very few exceptions, it cannot age, so pay attention to the bottle and note the vintage (see previous blog post on this topic).
You want to be drinking rosé that has only been in the bottle for about a year, maybe a little more. If we are in 2019 and someone tries to sell you a bottle from 2016, please know that bottle will be dead on arrival.
If you are typically a red wine drinker and have found rosés to be too light, there’s hope. Seek out rosés made in warmer climates from heftier grapes like Cabernet and Syrah. In fact, some of my favorite rosés come from Tavel, France (in the Rhône Valley). These wines are intensely dark and full-bodied. I have converted many non-rosé lovers with wines from this region.
Your homework assignment from me, Wine Savvy drinkers:
Have a rosé flight party. Ask each guest to bring a rosé from a different country or even different regions within the same country. Line those wines up from lightest in color to darkest and see where your palate lands.
Italy, Spain, Austria, France, South Africa, Greece, South American (the list goes on and on). Think of how vast the earth is and then you can begin to understand how enormous the opportunities for growing grapes---making each place (and wine) uniquely its own.