White wines are great, as also are reds, but a rosé can be the perfect in-between choice
I know, this season I have harped on a bit too much about my love for pink wines. But given the climate of the country (as also the social climes), who can resist the temptation for something that manages to be both fruity and held down, yet buoyant and refreshing at the same time?
So, for one more time, I am going to canvass for drinking more rosé. Whites are great, as also are reds (and, if this were a rhyme, I would have said something quirky yet funny and altogether intelligent about rosés here), but a rosé can be the perfect in-between choice. First of all, a rosé isn’t just one shade. Just like whites can be anything between greenish to hold-tinged, and reds can range from violet to tawny, rosés have their own Pantone frame of reference, from salmon-pink to blush and onion skin, and sometimes even a deep Claret reddish hue. All are rosé and the colour has no bearing on the ‘strength’ of the wine. Poetically, however, they are wont to inspire a new prose every time someone reaches for a glass and a pen.
Another thing rosés are often accused of is not being serious. Well, in many a pairing exercise that I have conducted, I must admit to having taken the easy way out by pitching a rosé next to a complicated or elaborate dish. It almost always sits pleasantly and acceptably well, never overpowering a dish and yet never too subdued by whatever gets thrown at it. The versatility of a good rosé is pretty much unparalleled by any other wine colour. Old-school thought makes us think of it as nothing spectacular, but let’s not tradition bog us down yet again. If anything, rosé is leading the wine revolution with ideas like ‘brosé’ (men who drink rosé together) and ‘frosé’ (a rosé served on crushed ice, like a slush) that are making wine hip and young. Last year, as a category, rosé grew even faster than gin and beer, which says a lot about its growing appeal among the younger set. Good on them, I say, giving good wine a chance sans prejudice, which the old foggies are so tainted with.
So what rosés would I recommend? Tavel from France is a popular region, as also the versions from Loire up north or Provence in the south. All of them do different grape-based rosé wines with varying intensities of flavour, but they all display cheerful crispness no matter the origin or style. Sparkling rosé is great no matter where from and I have had some lovely ones from California and Australia. Schilcher is a meaty brambly rosé, very peculiar and, for many, an acquired taste, but this Austrian version remains a personal favourite. Pinot Noir-based rosés are also very fine and elegant, a great example being Champagne and its pink wines. Rosé de Ricey is a rare blush wine to find. Californian blush is good and fun as long as you aren’t pairing it with anything too rich or robust.
Closer home, I swear by the York rosé (both still and fizzy) and the Grover-Zampa Soirée remains my top choice for sparkling rosé. Chandon rosé is another consistently top-notch wine and great for the price. So, to sum up, the world stands to drink a lot more rosé than it does. Attitudes may need to change though, for I often find that it’s not that people don’t consider rosé wine important enough. The trouble is that people who wish to enjoy wine take themselves too seriously.
The writer is a sommelier