Slay That Rosé

Love it, hate it, or hate to love it, rosé isn’t going away. To a majority of restaurant-goers, patio weather is rosé weather. Give customers what they want but with a little more depth this season. Sommeliers and beverage directors share their rosé menu musts.

Spanish influence

“Rosé will continue to be hot this summer. Southern France has long been the standard-bearer for rosé, but I expect to see a lot more rosé coming from the ever-evolving bodegas of Spain. And it won’t just be Tempranillo-driven rosés coming from Rioja. I think we’ll see rosés made from grapes like Garnacha, Monastrell, and Mencia, from regions like Bierzo and Penedès. Spanish rosés tend to be more bold and vibrant, with ripe red fruit flavors, while still remaining fresh and drinkable–and delicious.”

Alan Beasey, head sommelier at The Purple Pig in Chicago

Rosé, seriously

“Most people think of rosé as a light, refreshing, chuggable wine, but I’m predicting that once the weather warms up, people will spend more time seeking out rosés that are more complex, distinctive and taste like the terroirs from which they come, like Annona Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo or Chateau Pradeaux Bandol. Producers that are known for really high-quality red and white wines are now taking their rosés more seriously.”

Joe Campanale, owner and beverage director at Fausto in Brooklyn, New York

Expand your palate

“What I’m seeing is that the category will expand well beyond Provence rosés—making rosés from other countries, especially Spain and the United States, very popular.”

Gretchen Thomas, wine and spirits director at Barteca Restaurant Group including Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant

Better with age

“The focus has shifted to rosés that have aging potential, and are being vinified to match the aging potential of fine white and red wines.”

Olivia Moravec, wine director at UNI in Boston

If it sparkles, it shines

“At Fifty we are big on local wines and I just recently tasted a fantastic sparkling Rosato from Channing Daughters winery from Long Island. Channing Daughters 2017 Pétillant Naturel made from 57% Syrah and 37% Cabernet Franc. This wine is a bit less ‘fizzy’ than a Champagne, and it should be drunk in a wine glass. It was tart and tangy with some fresh citrus notes with texture of a fine mousse (fine bubbles) and a lively finish with notes of red berries and a hint of orange rind. Such a fun and groovy wine to have by itself or a wide variety of food—Mexican or Indian fare comes to mind. Pét-Nats are all the rage now!”

Beth von Benz, wine director at Fifty in West Village, New York

Lasting power

“Rosé isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully, it becomes a mainstay rather than just a few-year trend. With the social media campaigns that have supported it, rosé will undoubtedly be used this summer in cocktails, frozen slushies, and in drinkable concoctions of all sorts.” 

Benjamin Wood, bar manager at Beatnik in Chicago

Single rosés

“Single varietal rosés will be coming into fashion more as opposed to blends. They make for more interesting wines by allowing a grape to show a lighter shade of red while still offering something unique.”

Matthew Poli, beverage director at The Catbird Seat in Nashville

Trust the French

“I have experienced that French rosés, particularly from Provence, are highly in demand. Currently in my cellar are the rosés of Ladera (Malbec), St. Anne’s Crossing (Zinfandel), and Ascension (Grenache-Mourvedre). One not in my possession that should be is Two Old Dogs from Herb Lamb Vineyards. For sparkling, the Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé is consistently an elegant favorite.”

Leigh Ann Miller, general manager at The Iberian Pig in Decatur, Georgia

Summer sales spike

“I’m a huge rosé fan! Once the weather warms up we tend to see a spike in rosé sales at both lunch (Bayside features a rosé, Listel, on the lunch menu) and during dinner (with choices such as Miraval by the glass or bottle as well as rosé Champagne selections). Last summer, Bayside hosted a ‘Everything’s Coming Up Rosé’ event with wines from Oregon, Washington, Chile, France, and Italy, including three sparkling rosés.”

Cameron Mealey, beverage director at Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach, California

Branching out

“I think this will be the year we start to see people branch out and drink rosé from outside of Provence and France. Italy, in particular, is producing some stunning rosé and I know general manager and partner Heather Lynch and I can’t wait for one of our favorites every year to arrive: Bisson Ciliegiolo Rosé from Golfo del Tigullio in Liguria.”

Ryan Lotz, beverage director at Bar Mezzana in Boston

Full body, full flavor

“I think this summer more flavorful full-bodied rosés are going to be really hot. Not to take away from the softer more complex Provence-like styles, but I think people are moving more toward bold fruit and tannin. I’d keep my eye on Bordeaux blends. Look for St. Supéry Rosé 2016 out of Rutherford. It showcases big BDX flavors of red currants with cranberry pastry and pomegranate. It packs a punch.”

Shanning Newell, sommelier at Oak Steakhouse in Nashville, Tennessee

Beverage, Slideshow