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
"My favorites are the Montenidoli Canaiuolo Rose, Donkey & Goat Grenache Gris, Ameztoi Txakolina Rose, Schlossgut Diel Rose, and always Domaine Tempier. I want a bit of fruit, nothing too tart, with a nice silky mouthfeel. And if, like the txakoli, it's not the silky mouthfeel, it's the strawberries dipped in sea water texture and kick that's the thing! I can—and do—eat every single thing with rose! For me it's the celebration of the warmth, of another vintage, another chance to have the best summer ever."—Carla Rzeszewski, The Breslin and Spotted Pig (NYC)
Whatever's Hard to Pronounce (Kidding!)
"I like a range of rosés (all year long, but in spring we can really try to make everyone drink them!). Historically my favorites in past years have been Ameztoi Txakolina Rosado (grapes are Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza from the Basque region of Spain), Richou Cabernet d'Anjou (grape is cabernet sauvignon from the Loire in France) and Bisson Golfo del Tigullio Ciliegiolo (grape is Ciliegiolo from Liguria in Italy). Clearly, I look for the hardest to pronounce grapes before I even consider a rosé... no, kidding, but it sure appears that way. I joke with the staff that when rosé season rolls around I can take all the other 9 wines by the glass off because now we have rosé. Maybe a dry-aged steak can't take on a rose, but if you found the right one (an aged Nebbiolo Rosato from the Piedmont) it just might do it. If I had to say, rosé is especially great with fried clams, a really good tartar sauce and some hand cut fries: fat, brine and piquant flavors."—Liz Vilardi, Belly Wine Bar (Cambridge, MA)
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
"Honestly, I'm a rosé junky. I drink it all year round! My favorites tend to be the really pale, salmon-hued wines, especially those that hail from Provence. I love how invigorating they are and that they are able to take me on a mental vacation to the South of France! This style I like to pair with fresh market salads, light fish dishes or quiche. If the menu has more full-flavored items, I would probably look to a rosé from Italy. They tend to have more fruit and spice and drink more like a red wine."—Lauren Collins, L'Espalier (Boston)
Cab Franc Rosé from the Loire
"For the past few vintages I have been in love with Cabernet Franc rosés from the Loire Valley. I always look for the wines of J.M. Raffault. I love this winery’s entire line up, but the rosé in particular has a permanent home in my fridge! I also recently tried a Negroamaro rose from the Cantele winery in Puglia that really knocked my socks off. Rosés can so often be kind of bland and uninspired, so when a rosé actually reminds me of the grape from which it is made, I get really excited. Give me either of these wines with mussels in a spicy sausage and tomato broth and I’m in heaven."—Caryn Benke, Andina (Portland, OR)
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
"Every year I look forward to Domain Saladin’s Tralala. Blended Clairette, Grenache, Syrah, Carrignan, Bourboulenc, and—as declared by the winemakers—love. It lies firmly in the Southern Rhone, and has those lush flavors supplied by the ample sunlight and the Mediterranean climate."—Steven Rhea, Hospoda (NYC)
Baden, Provence, and Loire
"My favorite rosés are German rosés from Baden for the delicate but abundant fruit, precise and floral rosés from Provence, and Loire ros´s for the softness, perfect with summer cuisine."—Adrien Falcon, Bouley (NYC)
"Rosés are great with dishes with proteins that usually work better with red wines but in this case, they suggest a white wine pairings. Just think Beef Carpaccio. Another favorite usage for rosé is to pair dishes with major root vegetable components during the fall or early winter with rosé wines that have 1 to 3 years of age in the bottle, especially those made with headier grapes, such as Syrah, Bordeaux varietals, or even Nebbiolo. I find these aged rosés can develop very interesting flavors that complement the spices used for fall flavors."—Arthur Hon, Sepia (Chicago)
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)
Go with Spain!
"Today, it’s wines from Spain, especially Navarra. They are making so many different styles with great quality and very different personalities at amazing values. Now, if the money is not a problem, Southern France will be another great choice."—Gerardo Acevedo-Vanni, Bocanova (Oakland, CA)