Try a Crisp Rosé on a Hot Summer Day!

rosé wineIt was over ten years ago that I had the pleasure of traveling to the Cannes Film Festival to work with coffee connoisseur Martin Diedrich.   We were operating a small Diedrich Coffee coffeehouse in the American Pavilion and didn’t have much time for exploration, but we did manage to have a few lovely dinners. Fortunately for me, Martin has great taste.   Literally.  On a warm summer evening, he introduced me to French rosé.  Until then, like most folks whose taste buds had been insulted by White Zinfandel’s of the 1970’s, I renounced the pink stuff as an adolescent, faux wine.  Well this experience changed me forever. 

The French rosé was amazing:  It was dry, light and refreshing. I’ve continued to enjoy it every summer since then. I understand that it is becoming more popular and happily, I’m finding more good ones on restaurant lists in the last few years.  Even so, I still get odd looks from many friends when I order a glass with dinner. 

In a June Wall Street Journal column, author Jay McInerney wrote about rosé.  His main point?  There are worthwhile rosé wines being grown in Long Island. Here’s a lovely excerpt from his article:

“Today, Long Island is beginning to distinguish itself as a source of excellent dry rosé, following the model of rosé makers in the south of France. André Balazs, the proprietor of Sunset Beach as well as the Mercer in Manhattan and Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, has lent his name to a rosé which is available in his hotels from South Beach to Los Angeles. As a frequent visitor to the south of France he adopted the local habit of drinking pink, and as the proprietor of a seaside summer restaurant he wanted to spread the faith. When he started Sunset Beach 15 years ago, “it was pretty clear then that not many Americans knew what rosé was,” he says. “Now more than half the wine we sell there is rosé.”

To me,” Mr. Balazs says, “rosé isn’t just a wine but almost a lifestyle, something which involves friendship and leisure and a specific way to enjoy a meal. It’s totally casual but supremely sexy.” Michael Cinque, the proprietor of Amagansett Wine and Spirits, describes the appeal of rosé rather more prosaically. “Most white wines have too much acidity for hot days to reveal much fruit. Rosés have acidity but also berry flavors and cassis.”

The New York Times also covered rosé in June when writer Eric Asimov and a wine panel reviewed rosé from Provence.   They warn that there is good and bad rosé (of course) and suggest that the good ones should  be fresh and lively, with rare exceptions, dry, and free of noticeable residual sugar. They add  that, “Ideally, good Provençal rosés offer a chalky minerality that can be both tremendously refreshing and intriguingly textured, compelling repeated trips back to the glass because it simply feels so good to drink.”

Here are the panels top five of 20 picks:

1. Château du Roquefort Côtes de Provence Corail 2009, ***, $14
Well textured, juicy and refreshing with lingering flavors of flowers, minerals and earth. **Best Value**

2. Domaine du Jas d’Esclans Côtes de Provence 2009, ***, $19
Dry with an inviting texture and savory mineral and berry flavors.

3. Commanderie de Peyrassol Château de Peyrassol Côtes de Provence 2009, ** ½, $23
Earthy and expressive with tannic grip and briny fruit flavors.

4. Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Pink Floyd 2009 , ** ½, $22
Rich yet balanced style with lingering floral, mineral and berry flavors.

5. Domaine de la Fouquette Côtes de Provence Rosée d’Aurore 2009 , ** ½, $14
Dry and savory with refreshing earth and mineral flavors.

For more information about these wines and to read the whole article, go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/dining/reviews/09wine.html

I guess I’ll have to try some of these (and some Long Island picks) for myself, and I look forward to it!  Happy summer!

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Date: Sunday, 4. July 2010 16:14
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