Pretty in Pink

by Michelle Bouffard and Michaela Morris of house wine | July/August 2012

Just like a good romance novel or a game of bocce, rosé is de rigueur in the summer.

Gone are the days when pink meant sweet swill; before the likes of Mateus and white zinfandel, the traditional rosés of France and Spain were dry. In both countries, grenache is the darling. This grape is cherished for rosé as it gives juicy wines that are fruit-driven and low in tannin.

France’s sunny south offers an abundance of pink wine, but Provence in particular is synonymous with rosé. Expect a delicate style from this region. Price can be high in relation to quality, so choose wisely. The Rhône Valley appellations of Tavel and Lirac offer much fuller-bodied examples. These heady, high-alcohol pinks can be dangerous in the hot sun, so food is necessary. Think robust dishes like tuna, poultry and seafood in a creamy sauce.

Rosados hail from all over Spain, with the region of Navarra the proud leader.  Beyond Navarra, look out for those from Rioja, Jumilla and Peñedes. Spain’s gutsy rosados stand up to equally gutsy food. Enjoy a mouthwatering glass with traditional tapas of sardines, anchovies, olives and tomato gazpacho.

Rosé fever is back and here to stay year-round! Long after summer is gone, a glass of pink is a ray of sunshine on a cold, rainy winter day.

2011 La Vieille Ferme, Rosé, Côtes du Ventoux AOC, France $13.99 (SKU# 559393)

A perennial favourite and an affordable alternative to Tavel. Vibrant flavours of grapefruit and rhubarb. Did you say Salade Niçoise?

2011 Marqués de Cáceres, Rosado, Rioja DOCa, Spain $16.99 (SKU# 361188)

Juicy raspberry flavours, with a hint of orange zest. Equally delicious with bouillabaisse and paella.

2011 Tantalus Rosé, Okanagan VQA, BC $26*

European rosés have inspired winemakers around the world, including local wineries. Fuller style, in the vein of Tavel. A dream with local sockeye accompanied by a strawberry sauce.