The holidays are upon us, and you’ll need to select wines that complement without overpowering your festive holiday meal. This year, think pink.
Rosé — yes, rosé — wines are perfect for pairing with turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and all the other trimmings.
Contemporary winemakers, particularly in France and California, are exerting serious effort into refined, dry, and semi-dry wines that bear little resemblance to the insipid “blush” rosés of yesteryear. Today, rosé is the fastest rising category in the wine industry.
Rosés are traditionally made from Rhone grape varietals such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsaut. Rosés of Pinot Noir and Sangiovese are gaining popularity. No matter what the exact blend, rosés should be fresh, aromatic, zesty, slightly fruity, and colorful, with moderate alcohol levels.
Almost every rosé begins with a strawberry nose before leaning toward some combo of citrus, raspberry, almond, and violet. Rosés also offer a wide variety of colors. Some are like budding pink tulips, while others look like the last rays of a beautiful sunset. A few rosés appear in stunning salmon; still others have a pale garnet or coppery red color.
Julien Fayard, a celebrated Napa winemaker, grew up in the Provencal town of Toulon. He knows all about rosés.
“Dry rosé is a gastronomical wine,” he said. “It’s a perfect holiday pairing and is a refreshing contrast to the warm, rich, and heavy dishes. Rosé is a palate cleanser and an extremely versatile wine that pairs with a mosaic of flavors on the table.”
Here are some excellent rosés to consider for your own holiday table:
- La Caprice de Clementine, from France’s Cote du Provence. It’s like drinking sunshine in a glass — delicious.
- Fayard’s label, Azur Wines of Napa, produces one of the most serious rosés on the market. Palest pink with a grapefruit nose and plenty of nuance, this wine will get noticed by your guests.
- Grgich Hills Estate Rosé, from Napa Valley, won Best in Show at the 2019 Rosé Competition. One judge praised it for its bright notes of watermelon and ripe pomegranate.
- Mezzacorona, from the Italian Dolomite region, is a lovely rosé with a very reasonable price.
- Chacewater, from Lake County, California, is an organic rosé of Syrah bursts with flavor. It has the look of a brilliant cherry lifesaver.
- Letkeman Family Vineyard, from Gaines County, Texas, produces a mighty tasty rosato.
So save the heavier wines for a different day and think pink this holiday season. The pairing of rosés with your festive meal may surprise you.