It may be bold to go so far as to say a particular wine is perfect but, in all honesty, I feel this way about rosés. A dry rose combines the best of white and red wine and transitions between the seasons flawlessly. I wasn’t always such a fan, though. I think I was like a lot of people in assuming that if a wine was pink, it was sweet. I based my bias on a glass of white zinfandel I had tried years ago. It was pink, it was cloyingly sweet. I was done with pink.
Then, in 2005 while working at Ponte, Fiorella debuted. It changed the way I viewed and drank wines forever. For months I had heard chatter that the wine was going to be dry and modeled after the rosés that came out of the Bandol region of France. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around a pinky-hued wine that was not sweet. And so, once it was released I was eager to try it. I remember that it was full of berry flavors…almost like a red would be…yet, it was fresh and light, like a white. And nowhere near “sweet.” Fruit-forward, yes, but not sugary the way my mind thought it had to be. I loved it and immediately purchased a bottle for Thanksgiving dinner. We had been marketing the wine as a perfect complement to the holiday feast and, after tasting it, I knew it would be delicious and it certainly was.
Today, seven years later, I still choose a good rosé for Thanksgiving. No other white or red I’ve tried goes as well with turkey, potatoes, green beans, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin pie as rosé does. It’s funny though, as soon as November is over, I switch right back to mostly red wines; they just suit my tastes better during the cold months.
Like clockwork, when spring rolls around, I’m ready for the fresh flavors of rosés. Dry rosés come in all kinds of pink colors, from all over the world. There are salmon-hued Provencal rosés, fuschia-tinted ones from Italy, hot pink blends from the Russian River Valley and Ponte’s own fire-colored Fiorella. Often, they’re very reasonably priced and they pair well with nearly everything: vegetables, poultry, fish, cured meats, eggs, fruit desserts, cheese, and are one of the few wines that taste exceptional with garlic (chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, anyone?). I’ve found that if you treat them like a white – meaning, chill them for about 30 minutes in the fridge before serving – you win every time.
If you haven’t given rosés a chance yet, don’t be afraid: heck, you don’t even have to buy a whole bottle. Go wine tasting at Ponte and try the Fiorella, for starters. If it’s not your thing, you get to taste five other wines. If it is your thing, I predict you’ll love, love, love it!
–Are you a fan of roses? Why or why not?