With the temperature routinely hitting 90 plus degrees, we are definitely into summertime wine drinking.
For me, and for an increasing number of others, that often means rosés. No other wine category is even close to experiencing the explosion of growth witnessed by rosés.
Once considered a novelty or, at best, wines appreciated by a small segment of the wine-drinking population (myself included) rosés are now the "go to" summertime quaff for wine lovers all over the country. I've written of my love of bone-dry, crisp, elegant, and refreshing rosés before, so here I thought I'd let some of my wine drinking buddies share their thoughts on rosés.
I first reached out to Craig Adcock of Jude's Rum Cake and Table Ocho fame. Adcock, an avowed rosé lover for years, had no trouble gushing over the cornucopia of pink wines making their way into the marketplace.
"The thing I dig about rosé is the versatility. I've always appreciated the elegance of a nice Provencal rosé or the heft of a Tavel," Adcock said. "Then there are so many other unique offerings coming out of Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Chile. It seems everyone is finally sharing and enjoying rosé."
Adcock says he always has a case of magnum rosés on hand. Table Ocho recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, and not surprisingly, rosés were featured prominently at the party.
"We started with a case of French rosé from Provence and then we popped a 15-liter bottle from AIX. Always a crowd-pleaser and great with food, especially a summertime salad with strawberries or grilled paella," Adcock said.
"Best rosé I've ever had was a Grenache Gris from Curran Wines in the Santa Rita Hills. Other top picks for me are L'Aventure from Paso Robles, and Azur and Arietta from the Napa Valley."
Rich Zellich, who heads up the Kansas City operation of St. Louis-based Pinnacle Imports, both sells and drinks a lot of rosé.
"One of the things I love about rosé is that it is a wine for everyone! Serious wine dudes dig it, college students can afford it, it is fun by itself, and as you and I showed, it can work great with food, including the great KC tradition of barbecue," Zellich said.
Zellich and I recently matched a number of wines, including a Tavel, with barbecue at a tasting event at Gomer's North. The rose with the 'que was definitely my favorite pairing of the night.
Zellich mentions a number of rosés he likes.
The Domaine Laporte Sancerre Rosé 2017, is bright and crisp, he says. "It’s 100 percent pinot noir, and it never lasts long in KC because there just isn’t much of it made, but it is worth tracking down.
Aerena Rosé 2017, is equal parts Carignan and Mourvèdre.
"(These) grapes are familiar to those that love classic Rhône wines. This is a rosé from the San Fransisco Bay," Zellich told me.
Zellich says there's no denying that a perfectly chilled glass of rosé is the ultimate summer wine.
Lastly, I tabbed Wanda Mann, a certified specialist of wine and founder of the popular wine lifestyle website The Black Dress Traveler (www.blackdresstraveler.com).
I met Mann on a trip through The Maremma in Tuscany a few years ago. I've been following (jealously) her trips and tastings ever since. Like Adcock and Zellich before her, Mann loves rosés.
"Rosé wines are meant to be fresh and approachable," she said. "You don’t have to be a wine expert to appreciate them. Their easygoing elegance really captures the mood of summer."
Mann says she's overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of rosés there are these days, and says she even has trouble keeping up with all of the samples sent her way. But it's not just the quantity of rosés that impresses Mann, it's their quality, which she says is better than ever.
"Pale pink wines from Provence still lead the pack, but excellent rosé wines are made around the world from a variety of grapes and in a range of hues. I really encourage people to give some of the darker-hued rosés a swirl, too.
"They’re fantastic and their slightly bigger structure and flavors often pair really well with heartier summer foods like barbecue."
Want more evidence of the seemingly endless popularity of rosés? Well, how about three rosé-themed events coming up in Kansas City.
First, Lidia’s monthly Wine Wednesday tasting, which returns June 20 with a Rosé Festival. The tasting will feature six Italian rosé wines, paired appetizers, and live music provided by the Volker Brothers. The Rosé Festival begins at 6 p.m. in Lidia’s private Terrazza. The cost is $40 per person plus tax and gratuity. To learn more, visit www.lidias-kc.com/news-events/.
Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar features the Longest Day to Drink Rosé on June 23. In honor of the Summer Solstice, Jax will feature a special selection of rosés from around the world with domestic, French, and Italian rosés, available as a flight or by the glass.
The wines were selected to showcase the terroir of the wine region from which they hail, and to pair with dishes from Jax' summer menu. For more information and to make reservations, contact Jax at 816-437-7940.
Three days later on June 26, Chaz in the Raphael Hotel enters the rosé ring with its own rosé tasting.
La Vie En Rosé will feature a tasting of rosés from some of the finest producers around the world. With wines coming from France, California, Washington, Oregon, South Africa and other destinations, this promises to be the ultimate tasting for the rosé lover in your life!
Paired with small plates and bites prepared by Executive Chef Joe Cizek and accompanied by jazz favorites from John Blegen and Rod Fleeman, Chaz' La Vie En Rosé is priced at $25 in advance or $30 at the door. For more information, give Chaz a call at 816-756-3800.
Now if all of that doesn't whet your appetite for a nice chilled glass of rosé, I don't know what will. Cheers!