By Katie Kelly Bell, ForbesLife. Source.
It’s warm and everyone is talking about rosé again. They must be doing a lot of talking because sales of rosé grew by 25% last year, according to a recent Nielsen report. Yet, as I have said before, rosé has been here all along and the new takeaway should be that rosé is a wine style that works hard during all seasons, pairing beautifully with all manner of cuisine and lending its vibrant, pulsing “aliveness” to any occasion.
Paul Mekis, head sommelier at Rosewood Sand Hill and director of wine for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, backs me up on the year-round position. Mekis argues that rosé gets unfairly pigeon-holed as a warm weather wine, noting, “I like to recommend a glass of rosé any time of the year. Most people always relate to rosé as something that you have on a warm summer day, but rosé is equally good in the middle of winter with a fire and Thanksgiving dinner.”
These wines really do pair with any season and an amazing range of food. Philippe Tolleret, of Marrenon Vignobles, owns a winery that straddles the Rhone and Provence so he enjoys the best of two worlds. But if he gets to enjoy one meal with his rosé, it’s sushi. “Ours is so delicate, light in color, and crisp, it just works perfectly with sushi, and any salad you can imagine.”
I tasted through heaps of them this year (pure drudgery!), with a primary focus on Provence, a region in France that actually grows red wines exclusively to make rosé. The producers in Provence use a technique called maceration which involves gently pressing the grapes and leaving them to “sit” in their skins for a short period of time (anywhere from 2 hours to 1 day). These wines are much lighter in color and the grapes are used solely to make rosé. Other winemakers use the saignée method, which means “to bleed” in French. In this method, red grapes are crushed and a small amount of the juice is bled off and set aside to be fermented as rosé. Winemakers often bleed off juice to add intensity to their red wines, in this way the resulting rosé is really a by-product of red wine.
Drink them alone, with a fox in a box, with your mother-in-law, with sushi, barbecue, turkey, salad, — no matter what you pair them with, you’ll be pleased.
A few to try:
2014 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rosé of Pinot Noir (Loire)—Made from 100% pinot noir, this rosé from the Loire has a special raspberry strawberry delicateness. It’s juicy and fresh, with pearls of acidity and minerality.
2014 La Londe Cuvee No. 8 by Les Valentines (Provence)—spicy and mouth-watering with orange peel notes, Moroccan spice, currant
2014 Chateau Coussin Cesar a Sumeire Sainte Victoire (Provence)—A palate of strawberry and ripe peach notes with lovely floral aromas. Minerally and crisp, elegant and quite feminine.
2014 Chateau Saint Maur Cuvee M (Provence)—a blend of Grenache, Tibouren, Cinsault and Syrah. Vivid and rich notes of raspberry, currant and citrus on the palate. Fresh and delightful.
Mekis’ favorites: Domaine Lafage Grand Cuvee-Provence and Domaine de la Noblaie-Chinon-Cabernet Franc (Loire).