Last evening I uncorked my first rosé of the season. Usually I wait for more balmy temperatures before cracking one open, but I fear at this point it will be September before we start feeling anything close to spring, let alone summer. During the warm weather months I drink more rosés, with a smattering of whites; rarely any reds.
The term rosé (French), rosado (Spanish) or rosato (Italian) literally means pink. The shades of the wines vary, depending on the grape variety used and how long the skin is in contact with the juice during the winemaking process. Rosés are produced still or sparkling and range in levels from bone-dry to very sweet. The sweeter rosés are better known as blush wines or White Zinfandels. This is a whole other topic!
Hands down, the largest producer of rosés is France, with the majority of the production coming out of Provence, followed by Rhone and Loire. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Argentina and the United States are all noted for their own distinct styles of rosés.
Drier rosés are more versatile and are easy to pair with just about anything. They combine well with grilled vegetables, seafood (grilled shrimp or salmon) or a Spanish paella. Grilled chicken, pork, steak or veal are also a good match for this wine as well as spicy foods. Indian curries, Thai dishes and Moroccan-style meals work extremely well with rosés.
A few of my favorite dry rosés come from the aforementioned areas above:
- 2009 Les Heritiers Dubois – At a tasting in a local wine store, I sampled this rosé from Anjou in the Loire Valley. Produced from a Cabernet Franc grape, I continue to buy this one each summer; I am never disappointed. It retails for $8.99.
- 2011 Crios de Susana Balbo – From Mendoza in Argentina, this wine is 100% Malbec. Retailing for about $11.99 this deep, lively rosé has aromas of strawberries and cherries, with some spicy notes.
- 2012 Mas de Cadenet – This is the one I opened last evening. I discovered this Cotes de Provence rosé at a recent tasting at Gary's. It is a Grenache blend and retails for $14.99.
- 2009 Pala Silenzi – I actually found this on a clearance rack in a wine store and have been looking for it since. From Isola dei Nuraghi (Sardegna) this rosé is a blend ofAs 50% each Monica and Sangiovese grapes. The clearance price was $6.99. I wish I had picked up a few more bottles. If anyone comes across it, please let me know.
- Jaume Serra Cristalino Cava – I picked up this sparkling rosé for New Year's Eve. From the Catalunya region in Spain, this blend is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Trepat. It was quite a deal for $10.99.
As the temperatures warm up and spring turns into summer, there is nothing more refreshing than uncorking a crisp, cool bottle of rosé, still or sparkling. If you haven't already done so, you should expand your palate and explore the wonderful world of rosé wines.