The Perfect Rose Wines to Bring on a Picnic
This spring, pink is the new white. It’s the time of year when temperatures are finally rising and rosés are coming into bloom! Delicate, aromatic, juicy and refreshing -- the profusion of pink on restaurant wine lists and retail shelves signals that rosé is having a major moment.
Before you hit the wine shop, here are some rosé rules to live by:
Younger Is Better
The best rosés are super fresh. This is not a category of wines that gets better with age… In fact, rosés can start to lose their luster and vibrancy if they sit on the shelf too long. Don't lay these down in your cellar, pop them ASAP! When choosing between two vintages of rosé, go for the more recent. 2014 is drinking beautifully right now.
Look for Screw Caps
Yes, screw caps! The days of the twist-off signaling inferior quality product are happily over. Many winemakers are opting for these closures as they're far kinder to the environment and they eliminate any possibility of the wine having "cork taint" (that musty, wet-cardboard aroma that comes from bacteria in the wine we do not want to drink). Since rosé is so perfect for occasions where portability is key -- picnics, boats, beaches -- the convenience factor of a screw cap can't be beat. Learn more about screw caps here.
Deeper Color = Stronger Flavor
There's a whole array of color values out there when we're talking about rosé; from the palest blush to salmon, coral, fuchsia, even light ruby. Generally speaking, the deeper the shade, the greater the intensity of flavor. The pigment in rosé is coming from the skins of the grapes -- which are also contributing taste and texture -- so the more skin influence, the richer and more intense the drinking experience is. Learn more about rosé production methods here.
5 Delicious Bottles for Your Picnic Basket:
Red Car Rosé of Pinot Noir 2014
From California's Sonoma Coast, this beautiful wine is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes primarily from the biodynamically farmed Bybee Vineyard. Pop the stylish bottle and discover a bright and lively sipper with flavors of pink grapefruit, bing cherries and rose petals.
Pair It With: Avocado, Shrimp, and Endive Salad
Domaine Serene "R" Rosé
Dry and delicate, Domaine Serene "R" Rosé is brimming with red berry flavors, some tropical notes of guava and a hint of zesty citrus in the finish. It's light but vibrant, with a creamy luscious mouthfeel. Ken and Grace Evenstad source the grapes for this top-secret blend from their vineyards throughout Oregon -- and while most of them are Pinot Noir driven, the rest of the blend is for them to know, and us to simply enjoy.
Pair It With: Grilled Salmon
Villicana ‘Liquid Hope' Rosé 2014
The Villicana Winery in Paso Robles, California has just released this lush and juicy rosé that floods your mouth with fresh watermelon and strawberry flavors. Owners Alex and Monica Villicana were inspired to make a wine that would conjure up memories of the iconic rosés coming from the South of France -- with a distinctly California twist. Their blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah has a compelling ripeness with a crisp and easygoing finish. The name ‘Liquid Hope' was inspired by the passing of Monica's mom at age 66 to brain cancer. In her memory, they make a financial donation of $1 to support cancer charities, for every bottle they craft.
Pair It With: Barbecue Chicken
Wolffer Estate "Summer in a Bottle" Rosé 2014
One of the prettiest packages flooding retail shelves this season, the name ‘Summer in a Bottle' says it all. Long Island's North Fork is one winemaking region to watch and Wolffer's sustainably farmed vineyards produce wines that are elegant and refined. The gorgeous pale coral color is as lovely as a Hamptons sunset, and the blend of Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Gewürztraminer definitely represents the best of what the North Fork has to offer today. The wine shines with a purity of fruit and a freshness that will leave you wishing you had another bottle waiting -- so stock up on this beauty!
Pair It With: Lobster Rolls
Quinta do Perdigão Rosé, Dão 2014
This is an offering for those that prefer a little more strength and power in their rosé. A vibrant deep hot pink color (almost leaning toward light ruby) hints that this is not going to be your delicate and light patio pounder. Made in the Dão River region in Portugal, this is a saturated, complex, and exotic wine that leads with rich ripe cherries and a hint of tangy rhubarb, then gives way to an herbaceous and mineral-driven, almost savory finish.
Pair It With: Grilled Steak Sandwiches with Goat Cheese and Arugula