Pierre-Marie Chermette Rose and Domaine de L’ile Rose
"Rosé wines are ideal on the dinner table because they are so versatile. That said, some of my favorite rosé pairings in particular are fresh or grilled seafood, artichokes and asparagus, as well as young, fresh cheese.
Two rosés that I am particularly excited for this season are the 2012 Pierre-Marie Chermette Rose as well as the 2012 Domaine de L’ile Rose. The Pierre-Marie Chermette Rosé is produced from carefully tended Gamay vines in Beaujolais. It is a fantastic expression of a pure, delicate, and effeminate rosé style.
The Dom. de L’ile Rosé is a most unique expression of Provençal rosé, embarking on a lengthy voyage from the tiny island of Porquerolles off the southern coast of Provence all the way to Boston for the first time this season. It's a slightly tarnished rose gold in the glass, comprised of typical grapes of the region, though including a percentage of the rare Tibouren grape. The Tibouren leaves an indelible stamp on finished wine—a rather heady, complex rosé with notes of dried stone fruit and a marked briny-ness."—Colleen Hein, Eastern Standard (Boston)
Clos Sonnenta from Corsica, Montenidoli from Tuscany
"Especially as a spring aperitif, I like rosés with clean bright acidity, crisp, crunchy fruit character and light body; some edgy minerality is a big plus too. Two of my favorites, Clos Sonnenta from Corsica and Montenidoli from Tuscany, have all of that in spades. There are few spring dishes I’d not drink with these, but ingredients like oysters, rhubarb, or the first peas and favas are especially great. Then for heftier fare like burgers and steaks, I do like to scale up the richness of body and flavor to something like the beautiful Bonavita from Sicily or the slightly funky older Lopez de Heredia or splurge on the complex Chateau Simone. There is a rosé for ANYTHING you might put on the table."—Juliette Pope, Gramercy Tavern (NYC)
Like Strawberries Dipped in Sea Water
So Many Italian Options
"Part of the adventure of rosé from the Italian perspective is discovering the wide variety of styles from the various regions, and the excitement as the fresh vintages arrive throughout the spring. We like to categorize the styles in two groups: Lighter clean bright styles, with restrained aromatics and watermelon and citrus character. Many of these are from the more northerly regions, as well as Tuscany. We also are currently sipping the Rosa dei Frati from Lombardia. The grapes are unusual (Gropello anyone?) but the elegant results show some minerality and persistence that we like for antipasti like octopus and shrimp.
The second group is richer, more fruit-driven rosé with a spice dimension. In general, Italians will drink Rosato darker in color than any you'll see from anywhere in France. The reality is that the color has little to do with the ultimate flavors. But, it can be an indicator of style choices too. We'll head south, and off to the islands for some favorites. Argiolas makes their Serra Lori Rosato based on Rhone Valley-like grapes with Cannonau (Grenache) in the lead. In Basilicata, Cantine del Notaio makes a Rosato from the noble Aglianico grape, grown in volcanic soils."—Aaron Von Rock, Lincoln Ristorante (NYC)
Spanish Rosé and Sancerre Rosé
"I am obsessed with rose this time of year. Perennial favorites include Ameztoi Rubentis from the Basque region of Spain. Crisp, light, almost effervescent, this wine lends itself perfectly for easy drinking. On the more serious side, I have a passion for Sancerre rose, and two in particular come to mind: Domaine Vacheron (though they didn't make this wine in 2012 as the yield in the Loire is so low) and Claude Riffault. Both are pinot noir based roses with incredible fruit and they maintain the hallmark of the region's terroir with a clear chalk vein. For straight sparkling rose, I am loving 2009 Raventos Rose from Penedes in Spain, incredible wine, incredible winemaker, really great value for sparkling rose. For food to serve with rose, I look to an item that is typically a sommelier's nightmare, asparagus. A chilled asparagus salad with goat cheese works perfectly with some of crisper styles of rosé you see out there. Some richer roses can even be paired with some grilled fish dishes, or clams in white wine sauce with chorizo and thyme."—Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, Island Creek Oyster Bar (Boston)
Depends What You're Eating
Domaine Serene and Schramsberg
"For too long rosés have been considered an aperitif wine or a sweeter wine, but now the fashion is for more structure and balance. Domaine Serene in Oregon makes one of my favorite rosé wines—the R Rosé, its citrus and strawberries make it the perfect rosé. Schramsberg Brut Rosé is also one of my tops picks as the wine has depth and character and is very food friendly."—Orla Murphy LaScola, American Seasons (Nantucket)
"To me, spring signifies new life, being reborn, and a light feeling—so I like to drink light wines, like delicate rosés from Provence. They are simple but elegant, and very affordable. Crack open a Bandol Rosé with a spring vegetable salad, grilled sardines, or fish served with fennel seeds, and you feel like you’re on vacation! The pleasure is all about the context, and the wine helps."—Edouard Bourgeois, Cafe Boulud (NYC)
Domain Saladin Tralala
Sparkling or Still?
"I love Bisson Ciliegiolo Golfo Di Tigullio Rosato from Liguria, Italy. For sparkling rosés, I like Tony Soter Brut Rose from Oregon and H. Billiot Brut Rose Champagne."—Molly Wismeier, Restaurant R’evolution (New Orleans)