Rosé – its not just Mateus anymore!

Finally some summer weather in Vancouver…and with it my thoughts turn to Rosé (although Beppi in the Globe and Mail beat me to it this morning with a great column at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/need-a-wine-to-pair-with-dinner-think-pink/article1630927/).

I don’t know about all of you, but Rosé — in my past — meant that awful, sickly sweet Mateus Rosé in that funny shaped bottle…while it impressed the girlfriend at the time, it really was terrible (no matter how cold you got it).  

My whole view on Rosés changed while on our family trip to France back in 2006.  While in Provence, it got stinking hot (45 degrees), which made red wine drinking an impossibility.  We tried whites, but they seemed kind of thin…but saw all the locals drinking this pink wine.  We tried it and…wow…there was nothing more refreshing on a patio in the sun! Either bone dry or with just a touch of sweetness, exploding with ripe strawberries and cherries and not a whiff of oak in site…it became our drink of the trip (and with a pichet being about the same price as a soft drink, it was an amazing bargain!).

Rosés are like the wines of Beaujolais…meant to be fresh, uncomplicated, low in alcohol and cheap!  They are made from red grapes (everything from Cabernet to Syrah) in a process that leaves the skins on the grapes for a little while during fermentation…that provides the colour. With the exception of Tavel and a couple of Bandols (which are essentially red wines drunk cold), they are just fun to drink in the summer time. In fact, we returned from our trip to a New York Times article proclaiming Rosé to be the new “in drink” for the fashionable set…but, like white shades of clothing, you could only drink it in the summer (and had to stop once fall rolled in)!

And that is what we have been doing ever since! Fortunately, there are lots of great, inexpensive options to choose from in the government liquor stores. Always look for the youngest vintage possible…now, for example, only drink 2009’s made last year.  Interestingly, B.C. makes some great Rosés, including Quail’s Gate and Sumac Ridge for under $15 and one by Langley’s Domaine de Chaberton winery that is even cheaper but only available at the winery (drop in for lunch at their great Bistro sometime and try it along with classic French food!).

But the best two we have tasted are from Township 7 and La Frenz in Naramata.  The La Frenz, in particular, is a revelation…it is made from Syrah, giving it good body, bone dry, but with amazing fruit flavours of strawberry, melon and ripe grapefruit.  A bottle on the patio…life doesn’t get better than that!

So take advantage of the great weather and try a good, dry Rosé.  Close your eyes, feel the sun on your face and pretend you are in the south of France…life doesn’t get much better than that!

SB

www.sbwinesite.com

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