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The rise of rosé has more people in Kansas City thinking and drinking pink

The premium rosé category is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. market and Kansas City is definitely on board with the trend. Events Monday and Tuesday in KC features a variety of rosés.
The premium rosé category is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. market and Kansas City is definitely on board with the trend. Events Monday and Tuesday in KC features a variety of rosés. TNS

I have to admit, sometimes it’s fun to be ahead of a trend. Such is the case with my love of rosé wines. I’ve been gobbling them up for years and consuming them year round.

Rosés are delightful on their own, extremely versatile with food, and among the most affordable of the quality wine options. Turns out, I’m not alone in my passion for rosé.

The premium rosé category is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. market and Kansas City is definitely on board with the trend. Rosés are everywhere, taking up an ever expanding space in wine shop and supermarket shelves and with restaurant wine lists.

Just check out the rosé offerings at Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen or Louie’s Wine Dive and Kitchen. You will have a tough time picking one as the choices are as varied as they are delicious.

Tannin had a tasting featuring dozens of rosés last month, and Louie’s will be “pouring the pink” at its Waldo location Wednesday, June 21. Call 816 569-5097 for tickets.

Tuesday night, June 20, Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar gets into the rosé act, going one step farther with its “Longest Night to Drink Rose,” a six-course love letter/dinner with each course paired to a different rosé offering.

Jax will also have all the rosés available by the glass and in flights. Call 816 437-7940 to get in on the dinner or just drop by for a glass or two.

As for what I’ll be drinking during the dog days of summer and beyond, I’ve been impressed by a new wave of California rosés, which are better balanced, less alcoholic, and drier than previous versions I’ve tasted.

At the pinnacle of California’s pink wine wave, in my opinion, are the rosé offerings of Kale. Located in The Napa Valley, not generally a bastion of dry rosé, Kale produces two single vineyard rosés that are two of the best domestic bottlings I’ve had.

Kale’s Kick Ranch rosé comes from a vineyard in Northeast Santa Rosa in neighboring Sonoma County. It’s a blend of 90 percent grenache and 10 percent cinsaut.

Fermented bone dry aromas of fruits and flowers leap out of the glass as the wine’s amazing acidity cleanses the palate and draws you in for another sip. Kale’s McGah Vineyard Rosé comes from a 65-acre vineyard in the Rutherford District of the Napa Valley near the Silverado Trail.

It also features grenache as the principle grape, but uses mourvedre to fill out the blend. Kale calls the wine “the driest rosé we’ve ever produced.” The McGah Vineyard Rose is as elegant as it is delicate as it is delicious!

Named for Isabel Mondavi, Michael Mondavi’s Isabel Rosé is an incredibly deft and nimble wine, especially when you consider its two primary grapes are cabernet sauvignon and barbera — not exactly shrinking violets.

Mondavi says the wine was “made with Provence in mind,” and that thinking shows through in the glass. Light peach in color and with lovely fruit aromas and flavors filling your senses, the Isabel Rosé is another winner from the Michael Mondavi Family Estate.

For a totally quaffable rosé, try the Murrieta’s Well Dry Rosé. Produced with a blend of grenache and counoise (a lesser known red Rhone variety), Murrieta’s Well Dry Rosé offers more color than the previously mentioned wines, along with gobs of high tones fruit flavors and aromas.

Not as elegant as the Kale offerings, nor as restrained as the Isabel Rosé, my bet is the Murrieta’s Well Dry Rosé will be the crowd pleaser and the empty bottle at the end of the party!

Paso Robles in California’s Central Coast produces a number of nice rosés. One of my favorites comes from red wine specialist Justin Vineyards and Winery. Using 100 percent cabernet sauvignon, Justin manages to coax light and fruity notes out of the grapes with a slight herbaceous quality.

Finally, a couple of California appellation rosés that hit all the right notes. The SIP Rosé and the AVA Grace Rosé were both pleasant surprises. Well-balanced between fruit and acidity, these affordable, food-friendly rosés are perfect for the backyard barbecue and the triple-digit temperatures that are right around the corner.

Later, I’ll have some thoughts on rosés from Washington state and Europe! Meantime, let’s get out there and drink pink!

Dave Eckert is a partner with Flavor Trade, a Kansas City-based gourmet food incubator and co-packer. Before that, Eckert was the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS and AWE for 12 seasons.

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