There’s a lot of focus on drinking pink this time of year. After spending winter mooning over bourbon cocktails necessary to keep warm and buzzed, rosé brings cheer to the world. I open a bottle almost as soon as the crocuses bloom.
It sounds like a Skinny Girl wine marketing ploy, but it’s a cute way to cajole you into dumping your pre-existing aversions. Yes those! The ones as outdated as the “blush” wine you fear. Jump on this bandwagon. Rosé is a highly versatile wine that is easy sipping and incredibly food friendly. A well-done bottle is fresh and young in a subtle way. It is not vulgar. It is not desperate to be liked. It’s a classically attractive girl in a sundress with minimal make up. Also she’s not a pushover. Rosé has a darker style, a bold streak. Pleasing if you’re looking for something beyond a light and whimsical refreshment. Red wine drinkers can find options with depth and weight and full-bodied flavor. Because rosé can be made with several types of grapes, you’ll visit some of the characteristics of your favorite varietals expressed in a lithe and interesting way. If blended correctly, the sums of its parts are crisp and awake and alive with acidity. No muddled feelings of over ripeness. As well made as any red wine. And kids? It’s happens to be pretty.
Just for fun, let’s assume you already know about some of the options coming to you from Provence, Loire and Italy. It will allow us to focus domestically. Some of these darlings are grown in Long Island, New York. Since we’re headed towards the beach, I should admit my mad rush to talk about rosé at the start of summer stems from wishful thinking
of the lifestyle that comes with sipping a vibrant hued wine in a relaxing locale. I won’t insult you by painting a picture of West Egg, but you get the idea. It’s a chance to be the most fabulous summer version of you. Seersucker. Sunglasses. Stemware unmarred by drying spots that you don’t have to wash placed on a linen mat next to grilled seafood, asparagus, and a fava bean salad.
What New York State sipper is in that well appointed glass? Here are some suggestions:
Wölffer Estate Vineyards 2012 Rosé ($16) is everything one wants in a spring-summer glass. This wine is elegant and flirty and feminine. It recalls bright happy scents from the retail heaven, Fresh (where one can drop hundreds of dollars on body wash) in the best possible way. Pale orange in hue. Grapefruit on the nose leading to wonderful citrus on the lips. Pristine with a wonderful acidity and a light raspberry meringue undertone. Hailing from Sagaponack, this beauty from winemaker Roman Roth is much more mellow than many of the women you’d find on the South Fork. 69% Merlot, 16.5% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Lieb Cellars Bridge Lane Rosé 2012 ($18) is more exciting than I remember from the 2011 vintage. Like last year, our friends in Mattituck again made their rosé Cabernet Franc (100%) but something has changed. The color screams PINK like that bad bridesmaid dress you had to wear without complaining but is more enjoyably swallowed than that. Much better. As it opens up, it’s
soft and delivers a happy dose of unripe strawberries. There’s a pleasant mineral-ey saline component that balances the richness tasting like my tears when I realize I’ve consumed five glasses on my own. For those exercising portion control, 375 ML bottles available for $10 at the winery.
Bedell TASTE Rosé 2011 is a rich blend of Merlot (60%), Cabernet Franc (20%), Cabernet Sauvignon (18%) and a 2% Syrah. At first whiff, it’s got a bit of that Strawberry Shortcake smell (the doll from the 80’s not the dessert.) It’s one of the most aromatic of the bunch with golden raspberries and a vague air of hibiscus. There’s less sugar left behind then the Floridian coral color would suggest. This rosé is lush and juicy just like the chick artist Barbara Kruger designed to adorn the bottle. Only Magnums (1.5L for $50) are left so bummer if you want a regular bottle. Hold out until the 2012 are released or see if there are any bottles kicking around in their sister tasting room at Corey Creek Vineyards.
Cutchogue’s Croteaux Vineyards has the distinction of being the only vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island to specialize in rosé. Their 2012 Cuvee Sparkle ($28) is festive and berry-licious. Derived from the still versions of their three signature merlot clones (181, 314, 3 for those of you who know this stuff or just like numbers), this sparkler is perfect for an aperitif or to sip all day. It feels breezy and effortless, much like your need to dance if you consume too much. Crunchy, electric and slightly edgy.
Anomaly 2012 ($19) isn’t even supposed to be here today. It’s not technically a rosé at all. But it’s fabulous and summery and the proper color…so get on board! Made from 100 percent Pinot Noir, Anthony Nappa’s wine feels like the grown up at the party. It’s one of my favorite wines produced in the North Fork of Long Island. It’s tart and makes you pay attention. Fruit forward, but has a little more heft than you’d expect from its dainty color. The full mouth feel you’re used to from red wine or insert some sexual joke I’m not sure I’m allowed to make. Zippy, silky with a long sour cherry finish. Great cold. Great at room temp. Save me some.
The stigma of Rosé has long since passed. It is not demeaning, it is delicious. Now run along and purchase some of these bottles for your holiday weekend. And don’t forget your sunscreen.