Monday, August 09, 2010

I am way overdue to write about rosé. This is the summer of it. This season, vinophiles all over the country finally embraced this lovely pink libation. Seeing a rosy color in the glass makes people happy, I think. I'll bet Kermit Lynch is happy.

What was so exciting for me about seeing more wine drinkers consuming rosé is that we saw a much more varied selection in shops and restaurants, and the style of rosé (flavor, aroma, sugar level) can vary as much as red or white wine. They can range from dark and meaty (with red berry flavors), to light and salmon-colored. But the thing about rosé is that it's much more fun to drink than it is to talk about it. Opening a rosé creates a lighthearted mood in a room. Open a few bottles, and you've got a party, as a few friends and I found during our rosé tasting last month*.

Here are a few favorites that I've tasted this summer:
1. Big Table Farm 2009 Laughing Pig Rosé - I had this at a "Rhones and Bones" BBQ and wine pairing dinner at Podnah's Pit, put on by Storyteller Wines (one of the best shops in Portland). We had many incredible French bottles open that night (red and white), but the depth and structure of this limited edition Pinot Noir rosé from Oregon, with it's deep color, body and red fruit, was the ideal match for a rack of bbq ribs.
2. Cameron's Vino Pinko (NV) - You can always count on John Paul to do something unexpected with familiar varietals. In this case, a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier tastes not French, but distinctly...Italian. Incredibly Italian, like a baby, pink, Barbera? It's got the earth, olive and dark berry flavor without the searing tannin. Revolutionary. No wonder Che Guevarra is on the label. This wine is fantastic.
3.Matello 2009 Pinot Noir Rosé - This is the most interesting one I've every had. It has a round, almost creamy feel on the palate as well as a slight funkiness that, I believe, comes from the secondary fermentation (unusual for rosés). Surprising and delightful.
4. Byrd Winery - This dark, cherry colored rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon from an upstart winery in Sonoma was bursting with fruit flavor. We opened it at the Gorge before a concert and served it with some salami (saucisson d'Alsace)from Olympic Provisions, and it was perfect (a slightly off-dry, fruit-forward rosé is excellent with salty charcuterie!).

[Enjoying a glass of Ménage à Trois, otherwise known as the only rosé sold at Safeway in Lake Tahoe, proving that the setting in which you drink rosé in in the summertime is really half the fun.]

*Read more about our extensive Oregon rosé tasting and other recommendations in "The Pink Ladies Rule the Rosé School" by my friend Jen.

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