Tom Collins (1L)
Rosé is not just a summer wine, though you would be forgiven for thinking it was. There is undoubtedly something aestival about a chilled bottle of the stuff. There is also no shortage of articles in lifestyle magazines extolling the virtues of rosé in warm weather. I have lost count of how many times I have read that rosé is the summer drink of choice down in the Hamptons. One imagines men and women alike, dressed in pale, unpressed linens and Clubmasters, sitting on breezy terraces, sipping slowly from their glasses.
As it happens, I drank my first rosé in East Hampton. It was 2014 and my then-girlfriend and I were visiting her best friend, the daughter of Hollywood royalty. I had just taken a dip and I was looking for something to sip by the pool. So, I opened the fridge and found a half-full bottle of fruity, pink juice. It was, fittingly, the “Hamptons Gatorade,” Wöffler Estates’ Summer in a Bottle—bottled only ten kilometres west of where I was. I paired it with a handful of the stale Frosted Flakes that I found in the otherwise empty kitchen cupboards. That was a poor pairing.
Now, every time I drink rosé, I am reminded of that vacation. That is to say that I think of summer (although the memory of those Frosted Flakes evidently still haunts me). Especially at this time of year, I’ll pour a glass, close my eyes, and think about how close I am to the end of the semester, and the nearest patio. We at In Vino Veritas know that we are not the only ones who would like to fast forward to the end of exams. Below are three rosés to help you usher in your summer.
Rosé season is seemingly upon us, though it certainly does not feel like spring outside. However, I’m a firm believer that it is never too cold for rosé. While a lot of great rosés come out of Provence and Rhône in France, you don’t have to look further than Niagara region for a refreshing glass of the pink stuff. The Trius Rosé 2016 is a tasty, affordable choice that you can find at pretty much any LCBO ($17.95). It’s a medium-bodied rosé with red berry flavours—strawberry being the most noticeable. This is a drier rosé, so if you prefer your rosés sweet you should probably look to ones with 20 g or more of sugar per litre (this one has 5 g). But for my fellow rosé lovers who enjoy a dry rosé with a crisp finish, the Trius is a solid choice.
Rosé is all about style. Gérard Bertand’s Côte des Roses catches the eye with a slender, ornate bottle. Its floral theme is on display with a decorative rose petal and swirling glass design. The polished and elegant design is complemented by a small glass stopper in place of a cork. The wine itself has a tantalizingly faint pink hue and is very sensitive to background light. The nose gives us the whole rosebush, caressed with hints of strawberry. But the palate is reminiscent of a rose’s thorns, surprisingly dry with raspberry and red currant on a medium finish. The wine is quite light and not very acidic, so it is built for snack food rather than full courses, befitting the transition away from hearty winter meals. This Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault blend from Languedoc is suitably priced at $18.95.
Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel comes from Sacha Lichine’s estate in sunny Provence. You may laugh at its name, but this is a serious rosé. It is the baby sibling of Château d’Esclans Rock Angel—perhaps my favourite wine—and it is everything that I want in a rosé. First, it is beautiful. Rosés come in a wide spectrum of hues, from the faintest salmon pink to a deep coral red. It depends on how long the wine is exposed to the grape skins. Whispering Angel is like the palest blush of rose petal. It looks delicate and refined. And it is. The nose has some floral notes that I cannot quite place. Second, at 2 g of sugar per litre, it is bone dry. Combine that with its palate of white grapefruit, minerality, and just a hint of peach, and you have a delightfully refreshing wine with which to celebrate the triumph of spring. Pair it with a bagel and cream cheese, or just an effortless coolness. Whispering Angel has recently gone up in price, due to its almost cultic popularity, but it would be ideal for a special occasion. It costs $29.95 at the LCBO and it sells out quickly.