Over the last few summers rosé wines have been gaining interest from savvy wine drinkers. The LCBO reports that rosé wine sales have jumped 17 per cent to $46 million in the last two years. And most of this is not the mass-produced sweet white zinfandel that gave rosé a bad reputation.
Many of these rosés are dry. They are excellent summertime sippers and perfect for many summer food pairings, such as salads, light pastas, spiced curries and rice dishes, shellfish, grilled fish, fried perch, feta, and fresh goat cheeses. Rosé will often work well when a red or white wine might be too big for the dish.
Dry rather than sweet is the difference in these rosés, and with elevated acidity that supports the clean, crisp and refreshing finish. This is summertime in a glass.
Here are a half dozen (five Ontario rosés and one from France) that I recommend you try this summer. All are under $20 and are available at many LCBO Vintages locations.
Gérard Bertrand 2017 Côte des Roses Rosé (VINTAGES #373985, $18.95) — Made in France’s Languedoc region from grenache, syrah and cinsault grapes.
Light salmon colour. Strawberry, red cherry and red currant fruit aromas. Rose petal floral notes. The red fruit follows through on the palate with added grapefruit and lemon notes. Dry, crisp with a lingering finish. Take note of the interesting rose-moulded bottom of the bottle.
Malivoire 2016 Ladybug Rosé (VINTAGES #559088, $16.95) — The leader of the pack, this is Ontario’s most popular and best-selling rosé. Malivoire has been producing Ladybug rosé for almost 20 years now. Made from 60% cabernet franc, 20% pinot noir and 20% gamay grapes grown in the Niagara Peninsula.
Red cherry, strawberry, raspberry and green apple. A dry wine but with a hint of sweetness on the fruity finish. Lively, refreshing acidity. An excellent value.
Megalomaniac Pink Slip Rosé 2016 (VINTAGES#: 85126, $19.95) — Made from Ontario pinot noir, chardonnay musqué, riesling, merlot and gamay grapes grown in the Niagara Peninsula.
The most interesting and complex rosé of the bunch. All the red fruits one might expect in a rosé with an additional mineral undertone, perhaps as a result of the riesling blended into the cuvée It’s an excellent sipper but this rosé has the power and finesse to pair well with summer grilled BBQ entrées like pork and chicken.
Tawse 2016 Sketches of Niagara Rosé (VINTAGES#: 172643, $17.35) — An assemblage of Niagara Peninsula pinot noir, cabernet franc and gamay grapes.
While it lacks much of the fruit complexity of some of the other rosés it is still nice for summertime imbibing. The crisp, energizing acidity is all that is needed for a refreshing mid-afternoon tipple or to be served as an aperitif.
For food pairing, I suggest Tawse’s “Grower’s Blend Rosé”, currently only available directly from the winery in Niagara.
Tawse Winery has been named Canadian Winery of the Year by WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada four times in recent years: in 2016 and in three consecutive years — 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Featherstone 2016 Rosé (VINTAGES #117861, $15.95) — Made from 50% gamay, 40% cabernet sauvignon, and 10% pinot noir from the Niagara Peninsula.
Available at many LCBO Vintages locations for a limited time (until August 18th, 2018 or while supplies last).
While this is a dry wine, it offers fruit notes that are candied and provide a sense of sweetness. Sour cherry and watermelon Jolly Ranchers and red licorice. The fruit sweetness is well adjusted by the wine’s lively acidity, resulting in a nicely balanced rosé.
This is a crowd-pleasing wine.
Château des Charmes 2016 Cuvée d’Andrée Rosé (VINTAGES 333260, $15.95) — Made from 100% estate grown Niagara-on-the-Lake old vines pinot noir grapes. This is a dry, crisp, elegant rosé. Pure, fresh, ripe red fruits leading to a long savoury finish. The best value of the bunch here.
The wine is dedicated to Madame Andrée Bosc — wife, mother and winery matriarch. The Bosc family has a deep history of grape growing and winemaking in the Alsace region of France. In 1978 Paul Bosc Sr. and his wife Andrée founded Château des Charmes in Niagara-on-the-Lake.