Do yourself and your guests a big favor this weekend by stocking up on plenty of dry-style Rosé wines for your Fourth of July festivities.
I’m not talking about that bargain jug of sweet pink zin that pairs with ice cubes and produces that Independence Day glow –– even though there is nothing wrong with that.
I’m singing the praises of some well-crafted dry Rosés I have tasted, which, when chilled down to 50 degrees, will make for fantastic summertime wine cocktails when guests arrive and great wine pairings with some of your lighter appetizers, seafood, chicken and pork.
Rosés are made from red wine grapes from some of your favorite varietals: Barbera, Cinsault, Grenache, Mouvedre, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah and Tempranillo to name a few — and blends of some of the above. During the winemaking process these “black” grape skins just aren’t allowed to color the juice for as long as they would for these otherwise big red wines. The result is a rose-colored wine known as Rosé, rosato, blush and other names.
Traditionally, most of the dry styles have come from the Old World in France and Italy. The U.S. and some other regions became known for those sweeter styles — until the last couple of decades, thank goodness.
Nowadays a dry Rosé lover has plenty of selection from both domestic and international producers. If you were to visit one of the Boise Co-op Wine Shops, you would find a healthy variety of Rosés ranging in price from $10 to upwards of $30 in hues from rose to pink to salmon to nearly tangerine. Rosé is made to be consumed right away, so, in most cases, look for recent vintages.
Today, I’m going to mention some Rosés I’ve tasted recently and can recommend as good values.
When I attended Savor Idaho a few weeks back, I was smitten by Syringa Winery’s 2015 Dry Rose made from Tempranillo, a supple red Spanish varietal that grows well in these parts. Though mine was poured from a bottle that day, I’ve since learned there is a 1.5-liter pouch (that’s the equivalent of two bottles, available for about $22 under the Twisted Earth sublabel) at the winery, 4338 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City. While I was there, I also sampled Split Rail Winery’s 2015 Dry Rosé, also sourced from Idaho Tempranillo grapes ($17). I enjoyed both of them. The only difference I detected is that the Split Rail is a little “hotter,” clocking in at 14.5-percent alcohol compared to 13.1 for the Syringa. For most people, that’s a matter of taste, but if you are trying to pace yourself at a Fourth of July barbecue you might prefer Rosé choices in the 12- to 13-percent alcohol range.
The other Idaho Rosé I tasted recently was 3 Horse Ranch 2015 Dry Rose. Though the Eagle winery has some estate-grown Rosé available, this one says 85 percent of the grapes were sourced in Washington state and 15 percent in Idaho. For $13 at Costco, I found it to be smooth and a very good buy. Speaking of Washington, I was at dinner last weekend where we ordered a 2015 Tranche Pink Pape from Blackrock Vineyard in the Yakima Valley ($18). This one is a blend of Cinsault, Counoise and Grenache and it charmed us with stone fruit and balanced acidity with grapefruit and Meyer lemon notes.
Speaking of blends, I may have saved the best for last. From the standpoint of pure flavor and value, I adore the 2015 Gerard Bertrand Côte des Roses, which comes from the Languedoc region of Ssouthern France near the Spanish border. The combination of Grenache-Cinsault-Syrah brings a bouquet of fruit flavors and some body (that touch of Syrah) that produces a smoothness my guests always compliment on. At only 12.5-percent alcohol and a price of $12 at Costco, make sure to put away some for yourself for when the party is over. This wine is a great sipper to greet your guests with at the door.
For something different, get your hands on some of these other Idaho Rosés, all made by Greg Koenig: 2015 Koenig Dry Rosé made from Cab Franc ($18); Williamson Vineyards 2013 or 2014 Rosé of Sangiovese ($12-$16).
Save the bottle
There is a bonus to buying the 2015 Gerard Bertrand Côte des Roses. The decorative bottle can be repurposed and used to store olive and other cooking oils — or as a container for water on your dinner table. Purchase an oil spout at a kitchen store ($6 at Williams-Sonoma) to complete the transition.