There’s no doubt that White Zin has tainted most peoples’ perception of “pink wines,” and if you’re one of those people, I’d like to reassure you that there’s a whole category of wine out there which awaits your discovery….and it’s not all sweet!
The other hindrance to the success of roses is that, that whole “masculinity-thing” (if you’re a guy…obviously)! In other words, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing pink clothing, chances are you probably aren’t too keen on being “seen” with a pink-colored wine. That’s on you. It’s certainly something I can’t help with. What I can help with are these five tips on food pairing with roses!
Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when you’re dealing with Californian roses. Since East Coast roses don’t indicate a “sliding-scale of sugar” on the bottle, determining the sweetness level of a wine can be a minefield.
A good indicator of how sweet that rose might be (without actually tasting it), is the color. Since most roses are bottled in clear glass, it’s fair to say that the deeper and more pronounced “pink” color of the wine, the more sweetness it’s going to potentially yield. If you therefore think the wine will show a high level of residual sugar, you need to make sure you’re pairing it with food accordingly.
Roses are usually made by leaving the grape skins in contact with the juice (in order to give it its color), and so they possess small levels of tannin. The more skin contact, the greater the color and degree of tannin. As a generality, the lighter colored roses tend to be softer and pair best with more delicate dishes such as salads, cheeses and fish. The darker, bolder styles pair well with grilled meats and spicy dishes.
At varying degrees of ripeness, most roses will usually yield aromas/tastes of: strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, pomegranate, apricots, blood orange or cranberry etc. Therefore, try and think how you would best incorporate some complimentary ingredients into your dish. A good example, is this meal I made a few months ago, with blood orange on top of grilled salmon .
Other examples would be:
– Flatbread with prosciutto, blue cheese, red grapes and honey.
– Beet salad.
– Cherry-balsamic vinaigrette.
– Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin stuffed with cherries.
– Chicken salad with watermelon segments.
You would be surprised at how much difference a couple of extra alcohol percentage points are to making or breaking a wine pairing, when it comes to the level of spice in a dish. This is an easy one to determine, as all wines are required by law to list their alcohol content on the label.
The beauty of roses is that a large number of them often show a lower level of alcohol than white wines, and the hint of sweetness helps to temper any spice in a dish. If the wine yields over 13% alcohol, be sure to use a light-hand when adding spice to a dish.
Of course all roses aren’t created equally, some are created bubbly! Similar to roses, sparkling wines are another category of vino which is often overlooked, deemed to only be applicable for “special occasions.” Because of the fizz, and again, the relatively restrained levels of alcohol, rose sparkling wines can be surprisingly adept at matching with all manner of cuisine.
Rose Champagne is my absolute favorite style of bubbly (I proposed to my wife with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Rose Champagne), but you don’t always need to splurge on “true-Champagne.” There are some excellent bubblies coming out of: France in the Loire and Burgundy regions, Spain with their Brut Rose Cavas, California in Sonoma and Mendocino, and Italy with its dessert-friendly rose Moscato.