Personal Sommelier Online - August 2010
You're finally coming around.
Twenty years ago, you would have balked at the suggestion of a pink wine to pair with tonight's grilled salmon, roast chicken, or Thai takeout. Not so anymore. Our sales (and your smiles) are proof: you love rosé wine. You love it, and you're drinking it.
Which is why we think you're ready for the next level of rosé appreciation: rediscovery. Rediscovery of the "good" off-dry and fizzy rosé wines out there. Yes, despite what we've preached for years to you about the difference between those (fizzy blushes and sweet boxes of decades and dorm rooms past), and these (lovely pink bottles from Provence, from Spain, from Italy, from our very own Central Coast), there actually are quite a few off-dry (read: sweet and fizzy) sparkling rosé wines out there that you should know about.
No, they are not too sweet. No, they will not give you a headache. They still have nothing to do with those pink wines. In fact, many of these fizzy and fabulous bottles are balanced by high acidity, and come off fresher and lower in alcohol than their dry counterparts. They can be remarkably food-friendly, if not more so due to the carbonation factor, and might be exactly what you’re craving but just don’t know it yet.
Curious? Skeptical? Thrilled? However you feel about it, I suggest you give these FF&P wines a whirl and taste for yourself:
Adegas Cooperativos de Monção Vinho Verde ($11.99) You've probably heard of Vinho Verde—that light, off-dry, citrusy and frizzante style of Portuguese white wine that seems perfectly suited to a life of surf, sun and seafood. Well, the Vinho Verde DOC's best kept secret is the very small amount of rosé they produce, which only recently has made it out of the village thanks to a few fabulous importers. From Adegas Cooperativos de Monção, one of the top cooperatives in this northerly sub-region just across the Minho river from Spain, the Muralhas Vinho Verde Rosé is made from a blend of red grape varietals (Alvarelhao, Pedral and Vinhao), but it gets its pink from the flesh of the Vinhao grape and not from skin contact. With delicate red berry fruit flavors, this rosé is fruitier than its white counterpart, but retains classic Vinho Verde freshness and zip, and it remains low in tannin as well as alcohol (11.5% ABV). It is the perfect accompaniment to seafood prepared with a little extra gusto.
Caveau du Mont July Bugey Cerdon Rosé* ($15.99) Bugey Cerdon, from Bugey in the Savoie region of France, is another FF&P wine to befriend. Hand-picked Poulsard and Gamay grapes ferment spontaneously and are then bottled with native yeasts and a little unfermented sugar in a style of sparkling winemaking known as méthode ancestrale. The result is a very low alcohol, off-dry, berry-colored sparkler that retains high acidity and comes off fruity but clean on the palate. It is perfect for brunch, lunch, as well extended as summer barbecues or family reunions where it simply works with everything from baby-backs to chocolate cake! You will be the prince of the potluck if you bring this baby, but (as I learned the hard way) you must bring more than one bottle. It disappears fast. (Note: This is currently out of stock, but should be back in stores soon. Add yourself to the waiting list to ensure a bottle of this beauty is waiting with your name on it.)
2008 Banfi Brachetto d'Acqui Rosa Regale ($19.99) If you prefer richer, fruitier wines, look no further than Piedmont's Brachetto d'Acqui, the DOCG for beautiful and intense rosé wines; Banfi's Rosa Regale is one of the best. Semi-sweet, almost purple-hued and sparkling, this fabulous rosé has a lifted, aromatic quality that is reminiscent of rose petals. Though concentrated and juicy, the bubbles float on the palate and the finish is clean and refreshing due to high acidity. It makes for a lovely choice after a meal, in place of or along with a light dessert.
Looking for other options? Here are a few more off-dry, tinted fizzies to take home tonight: