With summer in full force and the bulk of our outdoor adventures still to come, we felt the need to say it: We love rosé. It has complexity. It has nuance. It has character. It looks good on the deck of the The Surf Lodge in Montauk; it looks good in some smoky bistro in Montmarte (Hemingway loved the stuff, so it’s even got manly points going for it).
If you’re new to rosé, it’s time to know. Here’s a little practical application to fill your summer with the hottest beverage behind the bar.
A Rosé is a Rosé
Rosé isn’t a variety of wine. In fact, there are as many types of rosés as their are red grapes, because that’s where rosé comes from. When red wine is made, it earns its tint from the skins of the grapes. Same deal with rosé, but the grape juice just spends less time in contact with the skins. Lighter rosés come into contact with the skins for as little as two hours; deeper rosés for as much as 20.
Don’t Judge a Wine by its Color
The flavors, textures, and profiles of rosé are all over the place, so don’t judge a wine by its color. Tempranillo rosé, which is gaining a lot of attention in the Rioja region these days, is delicately pink, but packs a heady, mouth-filling punch. Sangiovése rosé is quite a bit darker, but has a deceptively light, fruity flavor—think strawberries and melon. And then, there’s everything in between.
Go Crazy With Packaging
Bottles are pretty. But they no longer signify a quality wine. Think outside the bottle. Going to a party on the beach? VRAC makes a dynamite rosé that they sell in a three-liter box, so just pull out the bag, and throw it on ice. Underwood, meanwhile, has actually been selling their wines in aluminum cans, craft brewery style, so you can totally up your six-pack game. Hell, going to a party, and have no idea of what to bring? Grab a jeroboam of rosé, and make a splash when you walk through the door with 4.5 liters of vino!
Mix It Up!
Rosé doesn’t abide by the same rules as a stout glass of red, so have fun with the stuff and go full-cocktail. Four ounces of your favorite rosé, a tablespoon of St. Germain, a dash of bitters and a twist of lemon gets you a super-refreshing spritzer. Or add a bottle to cranberry juice, lime, simple syrup, and some citrus slices for a light sangria. Or keep it straight, and add a few guilt-free ice cubes to get dehydrated and rehydrated at the same time. The sky’s the limit.
It’s Hot Right Now
We love The Fat Jew (a.k.a. Josh Ostrovsky). He’s a hoot. The plus-sized male model/pop culture aficionado has made a splash here in the Hamptons; in addition to his numerous endeavors, he’s taken to the red carpet sporting his own label, White Girl Wines. His rosé is pretty damned good, too, and at $15 a bottle, a case won’t set you back. (Thank you, Josh: After the shortage, you’re making us feel safe again).
Yeah, a Shortage
We’re not saying that the Hamptonites made rosé popular, but we were among the first to enjoy its Renaissance. Maybe too much. It was 2014, summer, and everyone was having a nice time with our new favorite beverage, when all-of-a-sudden, the shelves were bare. There were riots in the streets. It was chaos. ...Fine, maybe not riots. But people got sad. Switched to Sazeracs. Never again.
Speaking of which: we know California gets all the credit, but New York has been making some serious waves in the wine world, and rosé is no exception. Wolffer Estates does an incredible rosé dubbed “Summer in a Bottle” (this one gets bonus points for packaging). Meanwhile, the winemakers at Channing Daughters has gone full steam ahead, offering seven distinct varieties of this luscious pink tonic.
And, of course…
France. The spiritual home of wine. If you’re looking to pad out your selection (or happen to find yourself ordering a glass at Le Club 55 in St. Tropez), inquire after the wines produced in Côtes du Provence, one of the country’s most fabulous winemaking regions. Domaine Ott is a stand-by favorite for longtime connoisseurs, while Whispering Angel, with a light, versatile body, pairs impeccably with a salmon filet or a light salad. Or, all by itself, for that matter.
Stay thirsty, friends.
Image courtesy of winefolly.com