It’s summer. It’s hot. If you have just finished working in the yard, you should be thinking of water or Gatorade rather than wine. Or maybe even a cold beer. But if it is a warm summer evening and you are getting ready to fire up the grill, a dry rosè is just the ticket. There is a significant number of people –mostly men- who won’t try a rosè. They think it is going to be sweet, or they think it isn’t manly because it’s pink. What a crock.
This isn’t the first time I have climbed up on my rosè soapbox. The message is this; I’m talking dry rosè here. NOT white Zinfandel, which is a different animal altogether. White Zin is sweet, and it is popular because Americans have been raised on sweet stuff. I have actually seen babies with Coke or Pepsi in their bottles. Unbelievable. This love of sweets is probably why most wine drinkers start with sweet stuff. White Zin most recently, Portuguese rosè for those of us who discovered wine in the 70’s and 80’s. Ah, Lancers and Mateus. The good old days. I tried some recently – Lancer’s I think – and I can’t understand how I could have drunk so much of it years ago. Fortunately tastes change, and palates change. I say fortunately because I came to enjoy many more types of wine. I would rather enjoy more stuff than less stuff. Maybe I’m selfish. Anyway, now we have established that dry rosè is NOT SWEET! Sorry about the shouting. One flimsy excuse down; one to go.
Those of us who are secure in our manhood will not allow the color of a wine to affect our enjoyment of it. That’s all that needs to be said about that. Since we’re talking color, rosè comes in several different shades. It can go from a light red to a very pale pink. As you might imagine, the general rule is the darker the rosè, the fuller the flavor. I have written about two of my favorites before. One is called Mulderbosch, from South Africa. Another is Sofia from Coppola in California. (I will admit the Sofia bottle is kind of an artsy looking thing). The flavor profiles are a little different because they are made from different grape varieties. A good value in fuller flavored rosè is Spanish rosè. They are often made from the Garnacha (Grenache) grape, and like many Spanish wines, they are good wines as well as good values. This type of rosè is among the most versatile wines in the world. They will stand up to such fare as burgers and chicken on the grill, or on a picnic with someone – not something – sweet, or just sipping on a weekend afternoon.
Lighter colored rosè is most often seen from France. Salmon colored wines from Provence are light, dry, fruity, and crisp. They won’t do as well with grilled beef, but they are wonderful for picnics and summer sipping. The best known rosès from France are from Anjou and Tavel. They are generally a bit more expensive, but are certainly worth a try if you are exploring rosè.
The point is dry rosè is full of red fruit flavors like strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and so on. You can also find floral notes and spiciness. Yes, these flavors can also be found in red wine, but we’re talking crisp, cool, and refreshing as part of the package. So c’mon guys! Grab a bottle in a different neighborhood where no one knows you, put it in a plain brown bag, bring it back to your man-cave, and chill it. When nobody is around, open it and try it. When you say, “dayum, this ain’t bad!”, I’ll be here to say I told you so.