I love the color pink. Just over a month ago, I bounded into the Kuwaiti restaurant with the tips of my hair dyed a vibrant hue of “funky flamingo,” the result of a renegade mission with a friend earlier that morning. Yet when it comes to wine, I frequently find myself forsaking my favorite color. I tend to prefer a rich red to a rose- even in the summer months.
Recently, though, roses that satisfy my taste for reds have garnered attention. Shelves are slowly filling with roses made from robust, red varietals. They manage to incorporate the robust notes while keeping the light nature of the rose. They prove perfect for summer cuisine. People can still enjoy a cold drink and the more delicate body will not overwhelm poultry or fish straight off the grill. At the same time, the subtle smoke and black fruit from the red grapes can hold up to spicy dishes, red meats, or even a burger.
One of the most exciting bottles in this genre goes by the name of “Nigl.” It heralds from Austria and is comprised of 100% Zweigelt, a red grape indigenous to the country. The lesser known varietal is known for its peppery nature but also has notes of red fruit. This particular bottle beautifully balances minerality with rich cranberry. The spice allows it to stand up to heartier fare off the grill and the zestiness of barbeque sauce. At the same time, the light, crisp body and chilled temperature makes it refreshing for a hot summer day. The Nigl is available at Nicholas Roberts Fine Wine in Darien for $20 a bottle (or at Harry's Wines in Fairfield).
Not all red roses are made with such exotic grapes, though. There are plenty of options for those who desire a level of familiarity. For example, I have seen several roses made with Cabernet Franc this season. My favorite by far heralds from the Finger Lakes. Goose Watch winery’s 2011 Cabernet Franc Rose is fruit forward but dry at the same time. As mentioned previously, the nature of the wine makes it complementary to a variety of foods. The winery deems it perfect for “turkey, grilled pork chops, or even stir-fry.” Personally, I have had it with both grilled poultry and a hardy burger. It worked with each and was a cool relief in the humidity.
I also tried a Syrah Rose from Argentina, the Tierras De Ponte Syrah. Syrah’s can be notoriously smoky and hardy, so I was intrigued by the prospect of using it in a lighter style wine. I was pleasantly surprised. The wine reminded me of a spiced strawberry. Although that particular bottle is now discontinued, it proved that Syrah can be used for this type of vino.
So even if you usually “see red” it might be okay to “think pink” this season! Cheers!