Is Rosé the New Red?

When I got serious about drinking wine, that is, when I stopped consuming 4 ltr jugs of Mountain Castle Rhine and Carlo Rossi Paisano, I developed this attitude that all wine would be red if it could be. I clung to that thought for probably 10 or 12 years. It’s kind of a snobbish attitude toward white wines and it sometimes seems a natural progression for many wine drinkers.

Then, one day, I looked at my French wine section and said, “Where the hell are my French reds?” Turns out, I became so enthusiastic with whites and rosés that my French section nearly dwindled to nothing. I have to work hard to ensure there are enough reds to satisfy our customer base. With that in mind, it’s time to look toward the warmer weather that’s right around the corner (known as ‘break-up’ in Alaska).

Spring is a time of transition that brings the promise of change and renewal and the chance of moving on from the darkness of winter. It brings budding trees and bulbs, Easter and Passover. It is also a time of transition for wine drinkers. We begin to move from the heavier red and white wines we’ve embraced all winter into lighter, crisper and fruitier wines that pair so well with the lighter meals we crave as the days get longer and warmer.

Crisp whites and dry blushes (rosés) are high in acidity and are naturals with foods of all kinds. They are also great by themselves as an aperitif while sitting on the deck (or veranda as Jill loves to call it. She says, in her best southern accent, “Ah could-huv been Southen, if it wasn’t fah tha heat and tha buhgs”).

So, this is a great time to experiment with inexpensive light wines. Try Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Riesling or Pinot Grigio/Gris. These can be fantastic wines that are perfect for this time of year. But, if you really want a light crisp wine to pair with your lighter fair but still want the flavors of a red wine, you can have both by trying any of the great rosés that are finally gaining popularity here. Wines such as Toad Hollow’s ‘Eye of the Toad’ (rosé of Pinot Noir), Miraval rosé de Provence and Domaine de Couron Ardeche are fantastic accompaniments to salads, lighter pastas and seafood.

The saltiness of some foods, cut nicely by the slight sweetness of a rich, full flavored Riesling. Pinot Gris is great alongside smoked salmon or chicken salad. Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect pairing for steamed asparagus with freshly grated Parmesan cheese or with fresh fish with lemon and dill.

So, go forth and drink white and pink wines…you’ll be happy you did!