Rosé is making a comeback, and you should join the bandwagon.
One of my favourite parts of spring are when the shelves of your local wineries become flooded with a bevy of pink wine. Rosé is one of those kinds of wine that has been the butt-end of jokes for so long that no one takes it seriously. But now it’s making a comeback.
Rosé is something you treat like a white wine, but it features a heavier flavour profile than most unoaked wines. (The pink hue comes from letting the juice of the wine sit on the skins of pressed grapes.)
The popular image of rosé is that it’s sweet and syrupy. These wines still exist, and I’m not going to pick on any particular producer, but often you will find them labelled as “blush”. There is nothing wrong with a wine that has some sweetness to it, but you need to have balance with acidity. Things have changed since the ’90s when sweeter wines were popular.
While the renewed interest in rosé is largely driven by wines coming from the south of France, there are a lot of reasons to cheer for pink wine if you’re a fan of something a little closer to home. The wines coming from Ontario bring everything you would expect from a serious pink wine. You will find any combination of cranberry, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, and watermelon. But many of the local wines offer up hints of bell pepper, or roasted herb. A savoury edge to these wines adds both depth and another facet to why these go so well with food. I recently had the opportunity to taste over fifty rosé wines from around the world, and I can say that the Ontario wines were head and shoulders above wines from France, Italy, Spain and Australia.
The last reason why you should be drinking more rosé is that you will rarely find a bottle above $20. Here are a few bottles to add to your summer plans.
2015 Giovello Rose – LCBO 445627 – $10.95 – ***1/2
The fruit in this wine comes off as candied. In spite of the very ripe flavours of raspberry, cherry, and strawberry, this wine does have some acidity to balance it out. This wine does drink dangerously easy, and tastes a little like Kool-Aid. Because of the sweetness, this wine gets easier to enjoy the hotter it gets outside.
2013 Pelee Pink – LCBO 529354 – Price $10.95 – ***1/2+
This bottle does have a bit of sweetness on the finish. But there is a great balance in this bottle with nice acidity and intense flavour. The flavours in this wine are rich raspberry and strawberry. The label has been given a much-improved face-lift for this vintage. Everything about this wine over delivers for its price point.
2015 Pink House Wine Company – LCBO 324558 – $12.95 – ***1/2+
The label on this wine is a lot of fun. There are rules printed on the back of the bottle that make sure you know this isn’t a pretentious wine. With flavours of watermelon and subtle orange, there is lots of sweetness in the glass, but it’s still balanced. With a little sweetness, I find that this wine does get better when the weather is warmer outside. You will want to make sure to serve this at fridge temperature. On a hot day, as the wine warms up in your glass, the flavour will move from watermelon to strawberry.
2015 Malivoire Ladybug Rosé – Vintages 559088 – $15.95 – ****
This is one of the pink wines that is available year-round in your local vintages section. It’s light and strawberry with watermelon. There is a hint of sweetness on the finish of this wine, but balanced with palate cleansing acidity makes it taste dry. I am thankful in October every year that this wine is available year-round because I enjoy pairing this wine with turkey… so in the summer, let’s go with a turkey burger.
2015 Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Cabernet Rosé – Vintages 177840 – $13.95 – **** –
This wine tastes like strawberry rhubarb jam in liquid form. I don’t want to meet the person who isn’t excited about that. The strawberry is so ripe that it tastes a little like fruit roll-up on the palate, but then you get this hint of red bell pepper poking through.
2015 Sibling Rivalry Pink – LCBO 171033 – $13.95 – ***1/2+
The flavours in this wine are a little heavier and more red wine-ish than the others on this list. The acidity hits the palate front and centre, and brings out raspberry and strawberry flavours. The fruit is all ripe with no savoury note in this wine.
Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine – LCBO 217505 – $29.95 – ****
Bubbly rosé is one of the best ways to get your pink wine fix. The red-fruit flavours are more subtle in this wine than non-bubbly versions of rosé. There are flavours of cranberry working in harmony with citrus flavours. Aromas of rising bread also make an appearance in the glass. You could use this to make mimosas, but why would you want to dilute the delicate flavours in this bottle?
2015 Southbrook Cabernet Franc Rosé – Winery Only – $19.95 – ****+
If you want a glass of this wine, you’re going to have to go to the Amsterdam Brewhouse on Queens Quay this summer. This wine will have a limited engagement being poured at this restaurant, and it’s not going to last long. You can also head down to Niagara to visit this winery to grab a taste. Very smooth strawberry flavours and a hint of roasted herb on the finish.