Summertime is the perfect season for enjoying a nice glass of crisp, cool wine outdoors with some light and delicious food. There is something that just feels right about combining the warm weather and long days of the season with a glass of perfectly chilled, beautifully colored wine. Rosé fits the bill perfectly! Of course, Rosé can be enjoyed year-round and I fully encourage appreciating it twelve months out of the year, but watching a little condensation run down the outside of your glass while you’re hearing the birds chirp and smelling the chicken cooking on the grill is a joy that can only be experienced fleetingly.
Rosé wines have had quite a journey over the last decade or so in the United States. They’ve risen from obscurity where they were categorically lumped in with cheap, sweet and mass-produced white zinfandel, then steadily gained acceptance as local wineries started to emulate the dry, food friendly Rosés produced in Europe, followed by a popularity that caused any winery with some extra tank space to push out their own version, which leads us to the current marketplace where prices have dropped and many producers are removing the offering from their lineups. This circumstance provides a delicious opportunity for savvy wine consumers.
The term “Rosé” refers to a wide range of wines which are produced in many parts of the world and from an expansive list of different grapes. Generally, Rosé wines are pink, but the assortment of colors varies from almost colorless to rich, deep and nearly red. The body can be similarly wide-ranging from light, bright and crisp to medium weighted with an oily and slightly chewy mouthfeel. Acidity can also run across the spectrum from tart and tangy to soft and somewhat off-dry. With all of these variations, taking advantage of the new, lower prices and the shelter-in-place world in which we live can be both educational and fun!
This month’s recipe would pair very nicely with a medium-bodied Rosé which has enough heft to stand up to the herbs and seasonings and enough acid to cruise through the richer cheese, olives and potatoes. An ample touch of fruit flavors in the wine will enhance the chicken and marry nicely with the lemon, tomatoes and cucumbers. I’ve had great success with a local Rosé of Sangiovese and this recipe, and am sure that a high-quality Rosé of Zinfandel or Grenache would also work very well. Our local wine producers and grape growers need your support now, more than ever, so why not grab a couple, or a few, bottles of the world-class Rosés that are produced right here in your own neighborhood and enjoy a healthy meal, a chilled glass of wine and a warm summer evening? Cheers!
Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at info@JamesFamilyCellars.com or www.JamesFamilyCellars.com