June 28, 2019

If you find yourself scratching your head at the proliferation of pink on your retailer’s shelf, keep in mind:

  1. The best rosés are “intentional rosés.”  Most rosé is made by separating the juice of the red grapes from the skins before it takes on color. An “unintentional rosé” is when the juice is bled off the skins not to produce a delicate pink wine, but to concentrate the color, extraction and intensity of a red wine. A winemaker who intends to make a rosé will harvest these grapes early, preserving the acidity that makes the wine so refreshing.
  2.  Color indicates style, not necessarily quality. The color is a reflection of how long the juice stayed on the skins after pressing, before being bled off. Lighter pink means lighter style and body. Darker rosés may have more extraction and body, even a hint of tannin. They can also match heftier foods better than some of their more delicate cousins.
  3. Second-year rosé can still be delicious. The rosé revolution has producers rushing their wines to market almost as fast as they can ferment them. The previous vintage typically gets tossed into the discount bin, so look for a few of your favorites there at favorable prices.
  4.  Rosé is perfect for summer, but it’s not exclusive to summer. Pink is the perfect drink to slake our summer thirst, but there’s no rule that says it disappears after the autumn equinox. Its versatility with food makes it a good candidate to have on the table at Thanksgiving, for instance.
  5. Rosé is great with spicy foods.  If you love the hot-and-numbing spice of Sichuan cuisine but say only beer can stand up to all those chilies, try a rosé. The heat amplifies the wine’s fruitiness. Rosé is also good with paprika-spiked dishes of Spain and the eastern Mediterranean, and dishes with pungent accents of olives or capers.