The scorching temperatures of summer are hitting hard but the cool, crisp, refreshing qualities of rosé are primed for rescue. If when hearing “rosé” the only thing that comes to mind are sickly-sweet, cheap wines, then it’s time to reconsider. (By the way: men can drink pink, too. It demonstrates confidence and good taste.)
Josep Prats, general manager of Coppa Osteria, gave us a crash course in understanding rosé. This style of wine is intended for immediate enjoyment, which is why you aren’t likely to see ever see vintages older than a year or two. The pink color is the result of red grapes (virtually any kind, although pinot noir, merlot, Grenache, malbec, and cabernet franc are generally most known) that have been pressed and allowed to macerate for a very limited time, from a few hours to a few days. The skins lend “terroir,” or flavors influenced by the soil and climate in which the grapes were grown. The resulting rose-colored wine is then fermented like white wine.
Rosé typically displays lower levels of tannins (polyphenols that are extracted from the skins, stems, and seeds of the grapes when soaked in grape juice) thanks again to the shortened maceration. Prats explained that this allows for, “the pure expression of the grape, with a hint of the tannins.”
Some rosé is produced by blending white wine and a small amount of red wine, though purists who consider this “cheating.” However, a number of
brut rosé sparkling wines are produced in this manner.
Ready to sip? Here are five restaurants’ recommendations for best values on rosé when considering both quality and price.
Coppa Osteria, 5210 Morningside
There’s a mere 1.6-percent markup here on all wines all the time, but from April to September take advantage of the summer rose program for a unique education. The ever-evolving list averages 40 bottles priced $40 and under, with glasses ranging from $9 to $15. The by-the-glass selection changes daily.
Best Value: II Poggione “Brancato Rosato” Sangiovese Montalcino, 2015
Raspberry, strawberry, and citrus on the nose with a core of perfumed cherries, spices, and flowers. Pairs well with everything from house made pastas to pizzas. $34 by the bottle (not available by the glass)
Underbelly, 1100 Westheimer
Teutonic ‘Laurel Vineyard’ Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, 2015: Low in alcohol (11.2 percent) with vibrant cherry notes. Pairs particularly well with these menu items: heirloom tomato salad with ricotta corn purée, pickled peppers, and blackberries; and goat loin carpaccio with compressed melon, cucumber broth and paneer. $11 by the class; $37 by the bottle
Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial
Domaine Montrose, Côtes de Thongues, 2015: Light pink with flavors of red berries, peaches, and spicy overtones. A blend of 65-percent Grenache, 25-percent Cabernet and 1- percent Syrah. Pairs well with grilled fish, sushi, grilled meat and salads. $8 by the glass and $27 by the bottle
State of Grace, 3258 Westheimer
Yellow City Cellars, "Dead Flowers”, 2015: A blend of Cinsault, Mourvedre Grenache and Syrah. Aromas of strawberry and cranberry with nuances of wet stone and rose petal. A Texas representation of a dry, Provencal-style wine. It pairs well with the Hot Chicken Sandwich with Thai herb slaw, sweetly spiced chile rub and gochujang on the lunch menu. $9 by the glass and $36 by the bottle.
Pax Americana, 4319 Montrose
Shepard Ross of Pax Americana provided two recommendations; one available by the glass and another by the bottle.
Scharffenberger Brut Rosé Excellence, Non Vintage: This wine is double-fermented in bottle similarly to Champagne with aromas of wild strawberries, raspberry jam and classic yeasty brioche. It is refreshing and dry. Pairs well with the Chicken & Duck Liver Mousse with peach preserves and toast made with Common Bond bread. $13 by the glass
Tablas Creek Dianthus, 2014: Grenache mouth-feel, with flavors of watermelon, strawberry, and orange peel, and a dry finish. This rosé that is particularly appealing to red wine drinkers. Pairs well with the Portuguese Octopus with heirloom grains, radish, Hakurei turnip, cauliflower and garlic aioli. $56 by the bottle (not available by the glass)