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Susan DeMatei
April 16, 2013 | Susan DeMatei


I have a confession

I am obsessed with Rosé, and have been for some time. Oh, sure, now it’s trendy, but try admitting this gem five years ago when I was laughed out of my wine tasting group. I remember, distinctly, bringing a rather nice Rosé from Provence to a BBQ mid July in 2006 and not a soul touched it. I think the Budweiser went before someone broke down and opened it. *sniff* It still hurts.

Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids

And rosé is for a European palate. I think my obsession began during my honeymoon in the south of Spain. There the sun is hot, the food is fresh, spicy and drenched in olive oil, and you drink either rosé or sherry. (Or, red wine mixed with coca-cola, but that is another blog post.) I got used to my .375 ml of “whatever the local rosé” was with “whatever tapas” I could point and mutter spanglish at….and rosé has been a spring and summertime staple for me ever since.

Understandably, in the US we have some baggage with pink wines, so let me first say rosé is not a White Zinfandel. A rosé is a red wine (it can be made of any red varietal) that during fermentation was only offered a chance to “peak” at the skins. The flesh was encouraged to ferment without skins and the resulting wine is dry, slightly tannic and exhibits a grey/pink hue. It should not be sweet, or carbonated, and in my humble opinion, the more robust the beginning varietal (e.g. Syrah, Cabernet) the better the resulting rosé. The best are crisp and at the same time drying and easily quaffable.

Pink pairing

Now that you are reassured it is perfectly acceptable to get down with your girly pink self and sport a pink wine in your glass, what do you eat with it? Ah, you’ve come to the right place. I like food almost as much as a I like wine. I have three suggestions:

  • Go Color
    An easy way to remember food pairing with this style of wine is to match the color: some of your favorite pink foods go wonderfully with rosé. Smoked salmon, sliced honey ham or beet salad would all be delicate enough to still allow the rosé to shine through. I’ve noticed that salty foods tend to do better with rosé than with white wines because of the tannins. So, anything from dried cheeses to olives will work great, too.
  • Go Native
    Rosé comes from Southern Spain and France – so think those cuisines. Spanish tapas (ham, cheese, olives, shellfish) and French Provincial dishes (light meats, fish, snails) all were made for rosé. The common denominators? A bit salty, and lean. Unlike a heavy red that needs that fat to balance the acid and tannin in your mouth, rosé is crisp and dry and delicate. So, while olive oil and lean pork will work, stay away from the heavy cream sauces or red meats.
  • Go Traditional
    Most of us know fish for white wine, and beef for red wine – so where does that leave rosé? In the middle, silly. Rich, oily fish like salmon or bass, and poultry, port or ham work great with rosé.

So, go get your pink on and I look forward to seeing you on the 24th. And, be sure to pick up some rosé for the spring – it is great for brunches, lunches and cocktail hour.

And one final note – rosé should be slightly chilled. Not as cold as a white, but not room temperature either. Just like springtime, it is not too hot or too cold – the perfect wine!

Women for Wine Sense is hosting Girls Night Out on April 24th from 5:45-7:30 pm at Sonoma’s Best in Sonoma. For only $20 per member you can taste several Rosés, shop for clothes at My Girlfriends Closet, and get a Magical Massage.


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