Don’t disdain the rosé, embrace it

One of the silver-lining experiences of being underemployed – besides being able to think and write about food all day, which might just be a platinum lining – is that my greatly diminished, or, um, nonexistent, wine budget has led me to drink wines that I’ve owned for a while. If my net worth was more that five dollars, I might call these wines that I’ve cellared, or saved for future use.

One such wine that I’ve had for a couple of years is not recommended for cellaring as it is a rosé, and is meant to be drunk young. However, lucky me, I bucked the recommendations of wine gurus everywhere and saved me a bottle of Domaines Ott, a fancy, and apparently trendy – despite its 113 years of history – rosé. Boy, and isn’t it lucky that I did for New England is experiencing a heat wave. In April. And so, after planting my garden this past weekend – four weeks earlier than normal – I was able to celebrate with a fancy-pantsy rosé. I also said a little prayer to the Killing Frost and Old Rosé Gods to spare me the pain of a dead potager and bad wine in spite of my abandon in planting before and drinking after it is time, and so far, the prayers have paid off.

Rosé has long gotten a bad rap. Apologies to those of you who enjoy a White Zinfandel more often than now and again, but it is your beloved White Zin that has poisoned the vat for rosé. Where rosé is dry and possessing of structure, White Zin is sweet, and, yeah, sweet. Rosé is made from red grapes, as is White Zin, but White Zin’s fermentation stops before all of the sugars are converted to alcohol, hence its cloying nature.

The skin of grapes is what gives wine its color. In the production of rosé, the skins are left in contact with the fermenting juice for only a short time and then drained off, resulting in a lighter color than a red wine, which is fermented in contact with skins for a longer period, resulting in a deeper color. Rosé is produced in wine-making countries around the world, though the rosé tradition is most associated with the south of France. Each rosé-producing region around the world uses different grapes for rosé, hence, there is a wide variety in color – ranging from a light apricot shade to bright purple – and flavor. But always there is structure, and, in my humble opinion, refreshment. Once the summer rolls around, I want only rosé to drink. Except during the day when I have water until I can’t stand water for even a second longer and open a bottle of rosé. I usually make it safely to dinnertime before this water rage ensues. And that is convenient, for rosé is a fine accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes – it pairs equally well with fish as it does with lamb kebabs and, yes, that’s right, even steak.

See what I’m saying? Lovely bottle. Can’t you just see the torn labels peeking out from under the lampshade now?

In fact, I enjoyed this lovely bottle – oh, and the bottle is lovely for it is crafted in an amphora style, see? I think I might save it and make a lamp, and I think JR will love this lamp, remnants of not-quite-removed wine labels and all. Oh, but I digress, I enjoyed this very bottle of 2004 (yep, wine gurus, that’s right. 2004.) Domaines Ott with grilled sirloin strips, but not before sampling a glass or two foodless by the garden. Domaines Ott is more pricey than most rosés, and, while I’m not sure that it’s necessary to pay more than $15 for an enjoyable rosé experience, this wine was delicious, even in its old-ish state. The color was a beautiful light apricot and I thought I smelled and tasted strawberries, but wine experts say the wine tastes of peach. It was nicely balanced, lacking the acidity that some lower-priced rosés present – though I am all good with acidity as well, so long as it isn’t overpowering or unpleasant, of course. At anywhere from $30 to $38 a bottle, I am thankful that I purchased this wine a few years ago when my net worth was more in the hundred and five dollar range, but if you have the means, I do suggest that you try a bottle. And don’t be afraid to send me one or two. Heck, I’ll even take a bottle of Castello di Ama Rosato (rosato is the Italian word for rosé) or Bisson Ciliegioli Rosato if you don’t want to spend thirty bucks on me, I’m not fussy. Well, ok, maybe I am fussy, but I just specified wines that would meet with my approval, so no need to fret over your gift wines. I’ll even send a thank you note. In the mail.

So, my dear friend, I implore you not to disdain pink wine – and I do not mean White Zinfandel, go right ahead and disdain White Zin – without sampling at least one rosé this summer. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself embracing rosé for the rest of the hot months. Because you can’t be hating on a wine that’s as fun and refreshing as rosé. No, you can’t.

Dinner tonight: Holy smokes, is it hot out. This means we will grill, and onto our grill, we will place sweet Italian sausage and the very first asparagus harvested from our garden ever – that’s right, no asparagus has ever made its way from the dirt in our backyard to our plates until tonight, a momentous occasion, to say the least. In spite of the heat, I may have the wherewithal to cook up some cannellini beans as well, and this now sounds like a pretty complete meal. Estimated cost for two: $6.57. The sausage was $3.54 for 4 links, we’ll each have one at this meal, so dividing that cost in half, we’ve got $1.77. I don’t mean to rub it in, but have I mentioned that the asparagus is from my garden? Oh, well then you already know. It is. But for the sake of mathematics, I’ll make believe I purchased it and it cost $3.99 for a bunch. We’d only eat half of that, so that’s $2.00. The beans are canned Whole Foods store brand, and cost 99-cents. I will most definitely shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the whole plate, so let’s figure an ounce between the two plates at $28.99 for a pound, and that costs us $1.81. If you had asparagus in your garden, this meal would cost $4.57 instead. Sweet. Now I have to go see if I have another old rosé hanging around. That would be perfect. Oh, please, Old Rosé Gods, be kind.

2 Comments to Don’t disdain the rosé, embrace it

  1. laura says:

    I’ve never been much for rose — I always feared it was too girly, it is pink after all — but you’ve perked my interest. I think I’ll give it another shot. This warrants a trip to the wine shop!

  2. Amy says:

    Hi Laura,

    You should definitely give it a try – you have the weather for it more of the year than we do here in New England, and despite it’s offending pinkness, it really is a great summer quaffer. Let me know what you think!

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