Rose – The Perfect Summer Tipple

Rose season is fast approaching! Called Rosado in Spain and Rosato in Italy, these “pink” wines can range in colour from a very light, grapefruit, or strawberry hue, right up to a deep, much darker, almost blackberry jam colour. Roses can range in style from bone-dry, to off-dry to quite sweet, with those coming from Europe being done in a mostly dry fashion. From a food stand-point I can think of no better go-between than a rose, when dining out-of-doors. Most are simple and pleasant enough to go with a wide array of foods, whilst not being too complex to demand an indoor setting. Key buzz words used to describe these wonderful pink products, include light, crisp & refreshing!

Image Problems of the Past
Throughout the wine world, roses have been fighting an image problem for many decades. This bad reputation has a lot to do with the North American “White Zinfandel phenomenon”. White Zin’s are rose wines which are commonly referred to as blush wines – a term usually reserved for North American rose wines that are thin, watery and undoubtedly sweet! Due to the popularity of these “kool-aid” wines throughout the 1970’s and ‘80’s, many of the world’s wine drinkers gave up on roses. Luckily, for the true lovers of all-things-wine, certain European countries like France, Italy and Spain kept the dry/drier versions coming. Now, rather than attack the sweet style, I will take the high road and let you all know that there is enough room in the wine world for both versions! A lot of the blush version is still being sold worldwide, as well as here in Newfoundland and Labrador (I.E. sku 3294 Gallo Sierra White Zinfandel $11.99, and sku 4640 Beringer White Zinfandel $12.99). New wine drinkers enjoy the low price points, and the fact that the sugar in these wines has a mass consumer appeal! Remember, we here in North America are viewed as a “soda-pop” culture – having grown up on Coke and Pepsi products.

When to Drink Pink?
Warm weather is here, and the vibrant, refreshing nature of a chilled rose is PERFECT for outdoor entertaining. It is your quintessential summer sipper, made for picnics, parties and barbeques. Why is it you may ask, that every spring we see more and more of a push towards rose wines? The answer is simple – the drier, bigger styles of these wines make very enjoyable accompaniments to many foods, and the hot weather and warm summer nights often beg for something different than big, red wines! People still eat the hearty fare that usually requires full, rich red wines throughout the summer months. The great thing about a rose is that it will often go well with both lighter and richer meals. I enjoy roses because I view them as being the best of both worlds – they are often quite similar to white wines in that they have light character and acidity, and they can rival reds in terms of their subtle fruit flavours. Due to their lack of tannins, I would recommend the following two things for most roses – one: serve chilled (similar temperature as for a full-bodied white), and two: these don’t usually age well, so drink up within a year of purchase, while they are still young and fresh.

Flavour Profile & Possible Food Pairings
Most roses are made from red grape varieties, with their flavours being lighter, more subtle versions of their red wine varietal counterparts. Some of the most common varieties used in the world today include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Malbec and Pinot Noir. As you might imagine the use of such grapes as these tend to give primary aromas and flavours of strawberry, cherry, cranberry and raspberry, often in hand with secondary notes of citrus, floral and watermelon. The crisp acidity associated with this type of wine makes it an ideal aperitif – whetting one’s appetite and getting people ready to eat! Roses are also usually light and crisp, and rarely oaked – making them some of the world’s most versatile and food-friendly wines. A personal favourite of mine to serve with a dry rose is PORK – hot or cold, it doesn’t matter, just try some rose and some ham, and let me know what you think. Lighter fare like fresh vegetables, grilled salmon and poultry are also divine with a cool rose. It is a great lunchtime drink as well, try it with hotdogs, hamburgers or a grilled cheese sandwich. And finally, many roses (especially the sweeter ones) go great with the infamous, spicy, “Asian” cuisine. I encourage you all to chill and try a glass of rose on a hot day soon. The sweet versions are great for newbie wine drinkers, while the drier roses will make a simple lunch special!

NLC will shortly be releasing some fresh, new roses for your sipping pleasure – which by the way, will be found already chilled for you, in the open-faced cooler sections at most NLC stores. Keep your eyes open for the following three French roses as well as the final one, a gem from Canada – soon to hit an NLC store near you:

Sku 14913 – La Vieille Ferme Rose - $14.98 *Excellent Value!

Sku 14914 – B & G Passeport Rose d’Anjou - $16.90 *From the Loire Valley.

Sku 14944 – Houchart Cote de Provence Rose - $17.67 *From Provence – a region famous for rose!

Sku 14955 – Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Rose - $19.98 *Canada does really good rose!

Andrew Facey
Senior Product Knowledge Consultant