It’s Spring (finally!) with longer days, warmer temps, outdoor dining and lots of new rosé vintages gracing wine shop shelves and restaurant lists. Rosé is such a misunderstood category of wine. Often under appreciated by most wine drinkers I’ve heard from. For many, they recall the sweet pink wines that graced the shelves decades ago and still today. Perhaps not confident in the wine to spend what they would for a familiar white or red. But to understand rosé is to know that there are as many styles of rosé as there are red wine grape varieties. Yes, some will be sweet (usually under $10) but most will be dry.
Rosé can be made from Pinot Noir, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, Zinfandel, etc. And like all other colors of wines if you compared, for example, three rosé Grenache of the same vintage and price from three different regions such as the Southern Rhône Valley, France, the Central Coast of California, and the Barossa Valley, Australia you will get three very different wines just like you would a three red Grenache from three different regions and producers. I recently stopped in to East Ender for brunch and enjoyed this delicious Arugula salad with beets and three hearty and delicious goat cheese fritters ($9). I paired a glass ($8) of the 2012 Bieler Pere et Fils, Sabine Rosé, from the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France (55% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cinsault). Because after all wine and cheese and salads and rosé and sunshine all go well together. If I sip my wine and close my eyes for a second I could picture myself at a sidewalk café in Provence where it is poured without discrimination. But I am in Portland, Maine, at East Ender, in the sunshine sipping on this lovely simple wine and enjoying this delicious salad and great conversation. And this is a great place to be. Here’s a suggestion, the next time you’re ordering or buying a rosé ask about what grape varieties are used to make the wine, pay attention to the producer, the region that the grapes are grown, the vintage. Get to know that rosé and enjoy the notion that no two wines are the same no matter what their color. If it’s a $12 rosé such as this one is (retail) have $12 expectations as you would with any wine at that price.