As the weather warms and springtime arrives, your clientele will undoubtedly be looking for dishes that complement the season. As you adjust your menus, many of your customers will be looking for rosé wines to pair with the new food selections. What better wine to couple with seasonal fruit salads and similar offerings than a refreshing, crisp rosé? These lovely wines combine the body of a light red with the crisp acidity of a white wine. Lunch, by-the-glass, and cocktail time are not the only occasions when rosés are ideal. They pair perfectly with most seafood dishes such as trout or tuna, and with light meats including pork, chicken, and veal dishes. Some of the heartier Cabernet and Pinot Noir rosés magnificently accompany red meats, keeping the meal fun and far from being a traditional heavy red wine affair.
If you are hesitant about the sell through on these wines, everything I read about premium rosés indicates their sales are increasing by double digits and more. I mean this category is hot! Even France, with all its negative export numbers, has one bright and shining star – the booming increase in the sales of rosé wines, mostly from Provence. These dry, “true rosé wines,” have been traditionally produced and enjoyed all over Europe. That is not to say there are not plenty of good rosés made here in the US – there are! The category is extremely healthy, and more and more producers are making fine, dry rosés here at home. The market is definitely there for these wines, and with a good balance of availability in your by-the-glass and bottle offerings, they should sell nicely, especially if they are tasted and discussed in your wait staff training updates. It’s crucial to convey the difference between these drier-styled wines and the sweeter, pink wines such as white zinfandel.
For a useful resource on rosé wines available in the states and abroad, try Rosé Avengers and Producers at www.rapwine.com. There you can find a list of producers and links to their websites to do research.
Also, if you are in the San Francisco area on May 11, they will be holding their annual “Pink out” tasting where you can taste many of the available rosés.
Here are a few selections of nationally distributed rosés. Ask the noted national account rep or your distributor for availability. if you make them available, your customers will buy them, especially by-the-glass!
Cheers to springtime!
MÉNAGE À TROIS ROSÉ, California is made of Merlot, Syrah, and Gewürztraminer. Good rosé is like a carnival in your mouth—and not one of your low-rent carnivals. We’re talking about your really classy, county fair kind of carnival. Our Ménage à Trois Rosé is the epitome of a good rosé. No pretension, no pretense. Just a fruit-laden roller coaster ride of raspberries, strawberries, lychee nuts, and flowers, with a silky smooth finish. Trinchero Family Estates, www.tfewines.com
I’M WINES, ISABEL MONDAVI, DEEP ROSÉ, Napa Valley is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon in the Saigneé style, from premium grapes grown in our family’s prized Atlas Peak and Pope Valley vineyards. These vineyards produce an extraordinary deep rosé, rich in color and flavor – a rosé with incredible concentration, structure, and acidity from fully mature Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. Folio Wine Partners, www.foliowine.com
PERRIN & FILS RÉSERVE ROSÉ, Côtes du Rhône, France – Clearly a wine from a warm place, the color is an intense pink with bright reflections. The nose is fresh, of red currants and yellow raspberries. The mouth is supple with fruity roundness in the middle, and a lively finish that is quite long. Perfect for outdoor meals. www.vineyardbrands.com
CHÂTEAU D’ESCLANS “WHISPERING ANGEL,” Côtes de Provence, France – There’s a crystal clarity to the berry and cherry flavors. Powerful, almost tannic, with plenty of mineral and spice notes. The long finish lingers with white pepper and wisps of red peach. Shaw-Ross Importers, www.shaw-ross.com
TORLASCO PINOT NOIR ROSÉ, Italy – Peach pink in color with delicate aromas but well-expressed with fine fragrance of wild berries and fresh flowers. The taste is dry, clean, sapid, and gentle, with a pleasant fruity background rightly persistent. Admiral Imports, www.admiralimports.com
BANFI CENTINE ROSÉ, Italy is made of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon and is intense pink in color. Fresh bouquet with hints of woodland berries. Dry with rich berry flavors, well-structured with a long crisp, clean finish. Castello Banfi Wine, www.banfivintners.com