Dry rose the darling of sommeliers, journalists and wine lovers
Wine professionals have causes like everyone else.
In the 1970s, we rallied around pinot noir. By 2004, the buzz got pinot noir its own movie, sales exploded (see marketing studies titled, "The Sideways Effect") and now the U.S. enjoys well-made, internationally-grown pinot noir in all price categories. Our work here is done.
Currently, among sommeliers, journalists and wine merchants, there are handshakes all around -- and no sharing credit with Hollywood -- for increasing sales of dry rosÚ.
We stacked and listed them, we drank up what didn't sell, our outgoing voice messages said "In case of emergency, serve dry rosÚ," simply because rosÚ is the easiest wine to pair with food.
Now, with rosÚ the fastest growing wine-style in the U.S., we know that wine lover's got the message.
In winter, rosÚ pairs with rich appetizers -- cocktail franks, Swedish meatballs, smoked seafood -- as a satisfying substitute to white wine. In warmer weather, rosÚ stands in for heavier reds as a chillable quaff to serve with burgers and franks, barbecue and such one-pot dinners as chili.
Whether you call them rosÚ, rosado, pink or blush, these lightest of all red wines range from five-star elegance (including France's Chateau Gassier "946" Grand Vin, the rosÚ glass pour at The Peninsula Paris), to easy enjoyment (such as Spain's Bodegas Borsao RosÚ), priced for picnics.
The operative word of this column is "dry." The term "white" -- white zinfandel, white merlot … -- means sweet, not bad to chill into slushies, but difficult to pair with food.
Ask your retailer to recommend a dry rosÚ and look for these primary styles:
France's Provence region is famous for Monte Carlo, the Cote d'Azur and dry rosÚ. Delicate salmon pink color hints at finesse and finely-tuned flavor; growers proudly point out that they use no saignee -- juice "bled" off new red wine with deeper color and flavor, but also bitter tannin.
With vineyards surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, each sip of Provence rosÚ carries the relaxation of St. Tropez beaches, especially when served with the region's flavory seafood dishes including fried red mullet, brandade de morue and that famous fish stew, bouillabaisse. Just don't forget to slather your crouton with rouille -- pimento and garlic mayonnaise.
Last year's 58 percent spike in U.S. sales has importers texting back to France "More rosÚ for America!" and our selection of vibrant, refreshing wines has grown in all price categories. Ask for Saint Roch Les Vignes (see "Ross' Choice"), Domaine d'Ecole "RosÚ Six Cepages" (about $20), "Le Provencal," La Vidaubanaise ($14) and other Provence rosÚ.
Made-in-America rosÚ reflects our West Coast's sunnier climate with wines of rich color and ripe flavor, hearty enough for Spring holiday dishes of ham, lamb and brisket.
Every taste of Oregon's Ponzi family wines tells you this is a family that really enjoys drinking wine! Serve Ponzi Pinot Noir RosÚ with sushi, salmon, game birds and light meats, as you would a light pinot noir. ($22)
Isabel Mondavi, "Deep" RosÚ Cabernet Sauvignon is really deep and really cabernet.
What's more, it's cabernet from Napa Valley grown by the family that put Napa on the wine map. Lush berry fruit is outlined by acidity for rich, mouthwatering flavors. ($15)
Sparkling rosÚ uniquely combines the richness of near-red wine with the lightness of bubbles. See previous "Ross' Choice" selections of Mumm Napa Brut RosÚ ($20) and Piper-Heidsieck RosÚ Sauvage ($60)
The first entry on my "Wine of the Century" list is J. Schram RosÚ, 2007. On the nose, brooding pinot noir aromas. On the palate, red pinot's silky tannin is replaced by a silken mousse and firm acid. The dry, savory fruit and meatiness of first opening just keep evolving until Day Three (when my will power gives out) and the wine adds its exotic truffle flavor and Madeira-like mystery to pork terrine stuffed with spinach followed by a rare filet.
Along with self-congratulations, tho', wine pro's are kicking ourselves for our efforts. Because it is made in supplies limited to assure freshness, we now need to make personal selections from inventory fast, before our readers, customers and guests snatch up all the best dry rosÚ.
• Write to Advanced Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator Mary Ross at food@daily herald.com.