Though it is a brisk and chilly Springtime, here in New York, we nevertheless welcome the pale green leaves on spindly sidewalk trees and blossoms, which seem to have sprung up overnight. The days are longer, meaning there is still sunshine after toiling all day in an office; one emerges from the subway after work still tempted to stay out and do something fun.
And the rosés have arrived, trickling in week by week, until you realize there is a whole wall full of them – hooray! The volume and diversity augur a fine expectation for the leisure season.
I love rosé. Happily (hopefully) we are beyond wine snobbery against liquid pink. Those who over-intellectualize pink wines would be just as bad. Rosé is frippery, fun, certainly not to be taken too seriously – at all price points, it should be enjoyed for pure pleasure.
Even if one has not personally traveled to the beaches of the French Riviera, been seen in Nice or Cannes, or wandered the lavender fields of Provence, we instinctively know that pink wine is the ultimate harbinger of sunshine, bikinis and sunglasses, less work and holiday fun. Pink wine reminds us to enjoy life, to stop and smell roses; we remember to be in the moment, because pink wine is ephemeral, seasonal, an accessory to salad days. I’d always wondered why anyone would look for a pink wine in winter, because rosé is seersucker, linen, straw hats and strawberries.
Depending on region, wine producer philosophy and process, like other wines, the many shades of pink have equally compelling stories to tell. They are gossamer-light, mineraled, striking in their acidity, or a bowl of cherries, bright, bold and taut. They can be briny, savory, even capable of aging, with tawny, coppery caramel tones, but never brooding, always open, and if they’re honest, then they are good. The best have something to say – they are here now and gone tomorrow. So one should welcome longer days and evenings, sunshine and green fields, picnics, barbecues and cocktail parties under tiki lamps with bottles and bottles of rosé, the most delightful wine of all.
I am thrilled with our diverse selection this year – here are a few newcomers this season:
Palmer Rosé Merlot 2012 – North Fork, Long Island, New York, USA
A fresh, appealing rosé of Merlot perfect for sitting on a porch and watching the sunset. Pale raspberries and floral notes wash across a palate eager for more. An indescribable pleasure for seared tuna on a niçoise salad.
Birichino, Vin Gris Rosé 2012 – Central Coast, California, USA
Birichino means naughty in Italian, which is interesting because you will want to drink this charming rosé in public at a picnic. Tasty and perfect for hearty picnic fare, cold lamb and pasta salad, this is a blend of Southern French varieties knit perfectly across a supple cherry-blossom-toned palate. Transcendent: you’ll think you’re by the Seine, when in fact you’re by the Hudson.
La Kiuva Rosé de Vallée 2012 – Val d’Aosta, Italy
Toss a couple pork chops on the grill, or even a meaty salmon steak rubbed with garden-picked herbs, to go with this rosé from the Valle d’Aosta. It has the Nebbiolo’s serious and structured style, with an earthy, aromatic nose filled with strawberry and raspberry alongside a hint of savory herbs.
Casa Mariol Rosat 2012 – Terra Alta, Spain
This bright currant-colored Garnacha rosé offers full, luscious, almost savory flavors. Ripe berried fruit and some plummy notes meld well over a structured texture that will stand up to main-course dishes. Great for burgers, ribs, slow-roasted brisket, and vegetables.
Coteaux du Vendômois Rosé “Lieu-dit Cocagne”, Cave de Vendome 2012 -Loire Valley, France
A light and refreshing rosé that will be great with smoked-salmon salad or goat cheese. This wine is made by an cooperative in Vendômois, which was established in 1921 and now consists of 12 independent winemakers and 25 grape-growers. This Pineau d’Aunis rosé offers racy minerality with bracing acidity. Lovely fresh cranberry and strawberry flavors linger in your mouth.
Bouches du Rhône “Essentielle Rosé,” Dom. des Masques 2012 – Provence, France
A great example of Provençal rosé with breezy oceanic aromas and notes of white and pink flowers. A blend of Syrah and Grenache that is quite delicate on the palate, the wine has a lacy structure and a fine, pale-berry acidity. Wonderful for dainty tea sandwiches or outdoor brunch.
Côtes de Thongue “Les Caringoles” Rosé, Dom. la Croix Belle 2012 – Languedoc-Roussillon, France
An intense nose of rose petals and pear-drop candies opens up on this juicy rosé. A typical Southern French blend of Syrah and Grenache makes this wild-fruited wine a wonder. Ideal for elegant parties with soft-ripened cheeses and warm snacks.