Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Rosés for Summer Sipping

By Liza B. Zimmerman

When the weather gets warm I just want to sit on the front porch--I wish I had one--and drink rosé. Those pale, salmon-colored rosés have never been my favorites. The intense, fruit-forward flavors of the rosés from Navarra, Bordeaux and even Piedmonte are what I crave.

While is it unusual to see a rosé made from Cabernet Sauvignon, as producers can charge much more for a red from the same grape. Mulderbosch, from South Africa, is indeed a Cabernet and delicious one at that. It is full of rich, red fruits and is refreshingly low alcohol at 12.5 percent. Another favorite of mine is the Bodegas Nekeas "Vega Sindoa," made from Grenache in Navarra. It also isn't afraid to show its big fruit structure and has ribbons of refreshing acidity.

Pairing Choices
Rosés, much like Pinot Noir, can be fallback wines that go with everything and total crowd pleasers if your friends can't decide on a color. They have the ability to stand up to a meat dish and won't overwhelm certain preparations of fish.

I love to eat meat and these are perfect wines with a rare hamburger, steak salad or tartare (of either lamb or beef). They have the tannins and structure to work with slightly fatty meats. A big plate of prosciutto would also be a great way to start a meal with a glass of one of these rosés, again those layers of fat will play nicely with cured meats of almost any kind.

Vegetables are notoriously hard to pair with wine, as many of them can make reds taste metallic and whites taste acerbic. If you put a little fruit in your salad it will also build a flavor bridge to the wine. I had a delicious watermelon and tomato one yesterday on Celebrity Cruises before the ship sailed off to Alaska.

Now that peaches are in season, I often add them to salads, along with maybe a little ripe melon or berries. Having the actual fruits in the mix will make the fruit juicy nature of the wines even more delicious.

Raw fish, particularly tuna, can also be sensational with certain rosés. You won't want the dish swimming in sesame seed oil, as you wouldn't taste the wine. Also you might avoid intensely spicy dishes, such as Asian-influenced ceviche, as the chilies will throw off the balance of the wine.

To wrap up a meal desserts with fruits, hunks of melon of any kind or stone fruits, will be delicious with these wines. You might even choose a rosé with a hint more residual sugar--many of these are pretty dry--so it can match the sweet notes in the cake or ice cream that might accompany the fruit.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

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