Before reading on, be sure to read part 1 on rosé winemaking!!
If you’ve been to a liquor store in the last few months, you may have noticed a surge in rosés on display. Rosé is—for some reason—only a seasonal wine. It shows up on shelves in April and disappears by the end of the summer. This is why it is imperative to stock up if you find one you like. These wines are only made in limited quantities, so once a vintage is out of stock, that’s it. You probably won’t see it again until the spring of next year. That said, depending on how much you drink, you probably shouldn’t get a whole case—these wines are for immediate consumption and are not typically meant to be aged.
As promised, here are my Summer 2016 rosé recommendations!
Lafage Miraflors 2014 ($15.95)
Hailing from Languedoc-Roussillon in southwestern France, this light peach-coloured wine is my hands-down favourite of the season so far: it tastes of strawberry, cherry, red apple and minerality followed by a hint of something spicy. It is fairly light bodied, zippy and refreshing on the palate—perfect for a hot day. It is also bone dry. This is a far cry from your oh-so sweet white zinfandel. Let’s compare:
Miraflors rosé: 12.5% alcohol and 2 g/l of residual sugar
Gallo White Zinfandel: 8.9% alcohol and 39 g/l of residual sugar
With its lower alcohol and much higher sugar levels, the Gallo may as well be grape juice. Every wine has its time and place, but the white zinfandel should remain in the college days. Ok, that’s my one wine snob comment for this post. I had to get that out.
Another really cool thing about the Lafage Miraflors is its enclosure.
Let me spare you the embarrassment I endured by telling you in advance that no corkscrew is needed to open this wine. I kept tapping the corkscrew against the top, thinking I just didn’t have the upper body strength to pierce the cork (see T-Rex reference in part 1). I felt like a total idiot when my husband just twisted it off with his hands.
Did I mention the glass enclosure is actually recyclable? The whole thing makes for a fantastic reuseable bottle.
This wine is made from 70% mourvèdre and 30% grenache gris. According to Lafage, the grapes are pressed right away so that no maceration occurs (translation: the juices are drained off the skins immediately so there is almost no contact with the skins). As you can see in the pictures above, its peach colour is very pale. I can totally identify with it, being quite pasty myself. Perhaps that is part of the appeal.
Pair rosés from the south of France like this one with light salads, say a nice salade niçoise, or with appetizers as an apéritif on a hot day. They are also great on their own, served straight out of the fridge.
Kim Crawford Pansy! Rosé 2015 ($17.95)
From Old World to New World, this New Zealand rosé is one of my faves. I first fell in love with Pansy! (yes, the exclamation mark is important in its pronunciation. I like to yell it aggressively for fun. You should try it.) years ago, and while the wine has changed over the vintages, it remains a solid rosé for summer sipping. The malbec and merlot grapes have imparted a dark pink colour to the wine, and it smells of the candy of my youth, Starburst to be exact, somewhere between strawberry and watermelon. Also a hint of bubble gum. Despite the sweet aroma, this wine is very dry (4 g/l). It tastes of ripe strawberries and is a bit floral. The aftertaste has a hint of citrus.
In terms of winemaking, the grapes were macerated for 3 hours before being pressed.
Look for it each year around May in Vintages. There were still some in the LCBO system at press time, but don’t wait to try this one before it sells out for the year!
Sofia Rosé 2015 ($24.95)
This line of wines is the Francis Ford Coppola’s tribute to his only daughter, Sofia Coppola (aww). Speaking of which, I should really watch The Godfather one of these days.
I reviewed this lovely Californian rosé by Francis Coppola Winery back in April, as it was one of the wines that really stood out for me at the California Wine Fair. However, I want to mention it again because it will be part of the upcoming Vintages release (June 25)! Keeping on the winemaking theme, this blend of syrah, pinot noir and grenache is soaked for 48 hours before being pressed. Because it hails from California, for some reason this means its price is $10-$15 more than the average rosé from France, so for me, that means I’ll probably only get a bottle…or maybe two in case the first one disappears too quickly.
In conclusion, rosés come in a variety of styles, and I definitely encourage you to try many this summer to find the one you like. That said, as you can maybe tell from this post, I definitely have a penchant for rosé wines produced using the abbreviated maceration method (don’t know what I’m talking about? It’s all in Part 1!). My rosé heart lies in the south of France. Look for appellations like Tavel and Bandol to see what the fuss is all about. They are the benchmarks. And when figuring out what foods to pair a rosé with, think of dishes you can imagine eating while sitting on a terrace at a bistro overlooking the Mediterranean: fish-based dishes, lightly grilled white meats like pork or chicken, salads and appetizers.What rosé is chilling in your fridge right now?
Happy summer, and of course, happy wining!