Finally, what I’ve been waiting for all winter long is upon us. Even and still with a small chill in the air, sun soaked patios are filling up with thirsty patrons; those eager to get out and break free from the constraints of the winter. Rosé season is here, and we are welcoming it with mouths wide open. So fill your glass with pink juice and get ready to enjoy it all summer long. Wineries all through Niagara are experimenting with all sorts of different styles of Rosé – from light pink salmonesque colours and dry to deeply bubble gum pink tones that can be subtly sweet, and the even deep, rich, more rugged styles that often are full in colour but finish dry with a bolder mouth feel.
With the insanely fast and not settling growing popularity of Rosé, and like all things that become trendy, how do we figure out which wines are delicious and which are not…? The inventors vs. the “knock offs”. How do we sort through the mountains of cases and displays of pink wine at the LCBO to actually buy the wine that you want to drink – whether it’s the super affordable poolside chugger or the wine that believes Rosé is more than just “Summer water”. I still, to this day, always want a dry (no sugar) Rosé, and when I started getting into the pink stuff, I always found myself looking through the Provence Rosés that come lightly dusted pink, finding myself now constantly disappointed by the lack of flavour they bring to the table. Now, I’m looking for the pink wines that offer more depth and stronger flavours but are still dry and sometimes even accompanied with a small hint of tannin that you would normally find in a Red.
First, if you are looking for that easy drinking, very crushable, beyond ‘affordable’ pink juice, I would say to look no further then Château des Charmes. The Rosé, Cuvée D’Andrée that can be yours for the very great price of $16.95, vibrantly pink, while crisp and dry, which makes it perfect to keep you hydrated all day long while you’re soaking up the sun.
Leaning Post Winery sits among the Welcome to Hamilton, Stoney Creek and Wynona signs and is a bit of an excursion, but if you can visit on the weekend, I highly recommend it. More than just a beautiful Rosé, they are making beautiful high quality wines and offer up a very fun and informative tasting. Their current release of Rosé is from 2018 and is just down-right delicious. A dry one, its colour is on the lighter side of deep pink and packs a punch of flavours. Described by Leaning Post as “all the good types of pies” – which is so true. It’s flavours taste of ripe summer fruit — think sour cherry, strawberries and rhubarb — baked into a golden flaky pie crust. You can find this at Leaning Post Winery and taste before you buy for $20.00.
I’ve talked about this wine before and I still love it just as much… I swear, we even fully restocked with a few new bottles plus a magnum this past weekend. It’s the 2017 Le Provocateur Gamay Rosé from Rosewood Winery $24.95. This wine is beyond fun… a wine made with less intervention; no yeast added so all “spontaneous fermentation”(wild), aged for six months in big old french oak barrels that won’t add any “oak flavour” and a wine that is unfiltered and has no added sulphur. This wine pretty much kisses both realms of pink and red in colour. It has lots of fruit tastes like cherries and apples, while offering up a bunch of savoury tones. It finishes with heaps of texture and a sort of biscuitty/nutty quality. I love this wine.
At last, but completely sold out and just waiting for the next time they make another wine like this…the 2016 Pearl Morissette Rosé Cuvée Roselana. At $30.00 this wine basically was sold out before I could even get my hands on it. I think we walked away one afternoon with eight bottles and four Magnums and are now left with just one of each size format left. I have been trying to pick the perfect time to enjoy this wine. A wine made with low intervention from a blend of young Pinot Noir and Gamay with almost the colour of a Red just in a shade closer to pinkish. This wine is bold and full of complexity, packing a jab of fresh red fruit, but also showcasing a savory herb and earthy aspect. Funky and fresh, but totally delicious.
I can give you my recommendations, but at the end of the day, you also just need to choose what you like. I have no perfect road map for deciphering high quality Rosé vs the others. Find wineries focusing in producing beautiful honest wines no matter the colour: and you will probably find a great Rosé.