Perhaps it was the heat. I stood there, in the Zinfandel section of one of Pittsburgh’s many Wine & Spirits stores, staring blankly at the unfamiliar labels of Zins, deciding what looked good. Part of me was taking in the ever-so-satisfying air conditioning that blew down on me; after all, it was my first summer on the East Coast and my tiny apartment had no central air, no portable a/c and no crosswind to relieve me from the humid air that refused to flow from one room into another. And I work from home. In a nutshell, I was hot.
My eyes shifted left to right as I scanned the labels. “Hmmm, should I go with a California Zin or an Aussie?” I asked myself. Five minutes later and still scanning, I realized that I just didn’t really feel like a Zin after all. No big deal, I moved towards the Cabernet aisle. Five minutes later, I still hadn’t chosen a wine. I glanced outside and noticed the hazy waves of heat levitating over the concrete when I realized that drinking a red on a day like that would not satisfy me in the least.
Now, up until this point, I had considered myself a die-hard red drinker. To tell you the truth, I think part of that is because I always felt a bit more sophisticated when I had a glass of it in my hand (insert shame card here). I rarely drank white and if I ever did, it was often a sip of someone else’s. But something changed in me that hot and humid day. Just the thought of gulping, er, sipping cool white wine was enough to make my mouth water. I headed towards the Sauvignon Blancs. Halfway there and mid-step, something caught me eye…it was a pink wine.
Now, I’d done my share of research about rose wines and I knew that they were not all sweet, as in the dreaded White Zinfandels. But I’d also never given them a chance, due to my love affair with reds.
I must say that it was the beautiful rosy color of the wine that first got my attention. Reading the label and description, the vineyard claimed that the wine was a dry rose wine, and judging from the 13% alcohol level, I figured it would taste similar to a white wine. The price was good, and, to be completely honest, I was getting a bit chilly, so I bought it and left.
On the menu that night was a Greek salad with all the fixin’s. I chilled the rose for about two hours and opened it up when dinner was ready. The first gulps, er, sips I took were marvelous. Was it like drinking a white? Yes and no. It was refreshing, like many whites are, but there was that extra bit of fruit that gave it a personality of its own–totally different from any white or red I had ever had before. And the bouquet, full of roses and strawberry, was just lovely. And I will stress here that it was not sweet at all. It was, well, perfect. Even with the strong flavors like feta cheese, fresh oregano, Kalamata olives and red onions, the wine shined through like a rock star. Since then, I’ve had rose wine with roasted chicken, mahi-mahi, pasta with vegetables, sausage and cabbage and cherry pie. Haven’t been disappointed yet.
Since that fateful day I no longer consider myself chained to red wines. I spend equal amounts of time in the red, white and pink aisles of my local wine store. I visit California on a fairly regular basis and am sure to bring home plenty of Ponte Fiorella (now my ol’ rose standby) while I’m there. Yes, I work for Ponte Winery but I admit, I never gave this wine a chance, but a chance was all it needed; it really is outstanding, plus I cannot get it in Pittsburgh or any other city for that matter. And it doesn’t hurt that every time I hold a glass of it in my hand, I feel a bit more sophisticated. ;o)