For many of us, our first foray into rosé was sneaking sips of mom’s White Zinfandel. When we got to college, ordering blush wine felt immature, so we switched to Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Eventually — reluctantly, perhaps? — we moved on to red wines, choosing easy-to-drink varieties like Pinot Noir.
Years later, now that we (and our taste buds) have matured, we’ll order almost anything off the wine list, from the driest white to the heaviest red. The irony? It’s perfectly acceptable, nay trendy, to drink rosé again. Hashtag: Yes Way Rosé!
However, today’s rosé is not necessarily the sweet pink wine that our mothers used to drink in the 1980s. According to Andrew Stover, Certified Sommelier and Founder of Vino50: The Grape American Road Trip, millennials are driving a new interest in dry pink wines. Since I’m part of this “generational phenomenon,” it’s no surprise that rosé has recently become my go-to summer drink.
Yes Way Rosé
With Memorial Day less than two weeks away, I’m partnering with Pier 1 to celebrate the unofficial start of summer and rosé-drinking season. After all, Pier 1’s new collection of outdoor dinnerware and rosé are both perfect for backyard barbecues, stylish soirees, and easy afternoons with friends and family.
To set the stage for a conversation about rosé, I first set the table with pieces from Pier 1’s Surf Style collection. Blush and blue is such a pretty color combination, so I chose these azure melamine plates and acrylic wine glasses and this jute trim pillow as an accent. Then I added sand-colored placemats for a beachy vibe and these fringe napkins, which remind me of colorful cabanas.
For the centerpiece, I used a nautical lantern (with a magenta rose instead of a candle!) and a stripe ice bucket to keep the rosé cold. A starfish bowl for salty snacks completes the seaside-inspired look.
So What is Rosé?
Before we get into rosé recommendations, a little bit of background on the pink drink first. What is rosé, anyway? It’s obviously not a mixture of red and white wine…or is it?
Actually, sometimes it is, reveals Stover. Most sparkling rosé is a mix of white wine with a splash of red, but even still rosé can have a small amount of white wine in it. “A dirty little secret in Provence is that a small amount of white wine rolle or vermentino goes into their pink wine,” he says.
Typically, though, rosé is typically made from red grapes with a short soaking of the skin or maceration. A longer maceration would lead to red wine, explains Stover.
Wine producing regions like France, Italy, and Spain probably make the most pink; after all, rosé never fell out of fashion in Europe like it did in the States. But more and more American wineries are starting to produce rosé too, and the difference, according to Stover, is the style.
“French rosé tend to often be quite light and wispy (almost salty if it’s from the south of France), whereas American rosé can come in many styles, from light and wispy to more beefier, heavier versions,” he says.
Regardless of style, in my opinion, rosé is the perfect summer wine. It can be enjoyed chilled on a hot, muggy day and pairs well with lighter food like seafood, salads, and almost anything off the grill (except, maybe, a heavily slathered rack of ribs, says Stover).
6 Rosé Recommendations
If you’re looking to expand your rosé horizons this summer, look no further than a few states away. Here are 6 American rosés that Stover recommends:
Arizona Stronghold ‘Dayden’ Rosé, Arizona
“Dayden is an interesting blend of both white and red grapes from high elevation desert vineyards in southern Arizona with bright strawberry and lemon peel notes. For a bit of trivia, Dayden is the Apache word for ‘little girl’.”
YinYang Pinot Gris Rosé, Willamette Valley, Oregon
“This is a fun pink that doesn’t really taste pink because it’s made with Pinot Gris grapes that aren’t green or red but somewhere in-between depending on their ripeness. Most people think of Pinot Gris as a white wine, but if the winemaker soaks on the skins, the wine becomes a salmon color. This one has notes of white peach and apricot plus a little ginger spice.”
McPherson Cellars ‘Les Copains’ Rosé, High Plains, Texas
“Les Copains means ‘the friends’ in French, and this is a blend of three ‘friends’ found in typical Provence rosé: Cinsault, Carignan and Rolle. (Rolle is also a white grape.) I call this wine ‘the watermelon Jolly Rancher’ because it starts out super fruity and candied and has a lemon citrus zest finish.”
Brooklyn Oenology Cabernet Franc Rosé, Finger Lakes, New York
“Very reminiscent of a classic Loire Valley rosé made with Cabernet Franc with notes of raspberry and strawberry and a distinctive dried herb quality that makes it a bit savory. This one works especially well with salads that incorporate dried herbs.”
Bedell Cellars ‘Taste’ Rosé, North Fork of Long Island, New York
“Always one of my favorite rosés from the east coast, the Bedell combines Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah–it’s a mouthful! Plus, they’re all sustainably-farmed grapes using indigenous yeasts — no commercial yeasts used. (Bedell is a leader in sustainable farming techniques.) This rosé has bright strawberry and raspberry notes with a hint of dried herbs and a zesty citrus finish.”
Paradise Springs ‘Nana’s’ Rosé, Virginia
“Made with 100% Merlot, this rosé has a slightly darker color and darker berry flavors. Think black raspberry with a slight bit of pepper and a round texture. The name refers to Kirk Wile’s grandmother, Nana, who just loves her rosé.”
And how about you? Are you a #roséallday devotee or are you partial to white or red? Let’s chat about our favorite summer wines in the comment section below! I’m always eager for new wine recommendations, aren’t you?
(Thank you to Pier 1 for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that allow me to continue sharing my words and photos with you right here on this blog.)