Warmer weather means it’s time for chilled wine. And no wine has been more popular in warm weather months than rosé. The genre has exploded over the last decade. Year after year, more and more rosé options are available at your local grocery and liquor store.
Unlike most reds and whites, most rosés are not available year-round. What’s an uneducated rosé appreciator to do? Ask someone that knows wine, obviously.
We went to the person responsible for the wine at one of D.C.’s best restaurants to enjoy a glass: Estadio.
Estadio General Manager Jennifer Lucy is quite familiar with wine from the Basque region. If you’ve saddled up to the 14th St. bar for an after-work glass of wine, you’re most likely familiar with their excellent selection. The one small issue with Estadio, and most every restaurant that offers a well curated selection of wine, is their list is mostly exclusive to the restaurant. Unlike most spirits and beer, what you enjoy at the restaurant is not available in your local liquor store. We asked Lucy to go wine shopping with us.
Whole Foods is conveniently located around the corner from Estadio. Lucky for us, their spring rosé selection is well stocked and a fine starter for your 2022 summer of rosé.
Lucy’s guidance will work regardless of where you buy your wine. None of these recommendations are tied to a specific bottle.
Before we dive in, Lucy reminded us what drinking rosé is all about. “It’s really about pleasure, as most wine is, but it’s even more about enjoying a summer day.”
The More Details, The Better
If a trusted distributor, specific location (a region is helpful but not specific enough) and breakdown of each variety (if it’s a blend) is listed, you should be in good shape.
Lucy pulled a bottle off the shelf at Whole Foods and highlighted the back label.
“They’re calling out the specific winemaker here. So that means that this wine is made by a person, which leads me to believe this is someone doing it with care. That’s kind of interesting.”
Not All Provence Is Equal
Lots and lots of bottles of rosé proclaim their origin from Provence, France, which is great because lots and lots of excellent rosé comes from Provence. But just because Provence is advertised doesn’t mean it’s good. Or bad.
Once again, the more details, the better. That’s why Lucy went with a bottle of Commanderie de la Bargemone. Yes, it’s from Provence, but the label specifies exactly where in Provence it hails from.
Related, great rosé does not have to come from Provence. Once again, rosé is a genre of wine. Just like how great reds and whites can hail from most anywhere, the same goes for rosé.
Cinsaut Isn’t Bad
Rosé isn’t a type of wine, it’s a genre of wine. Some are blends, some are not. Lucy enjoys blends with cinsaut. So if you see a blend with the familiar grenache and syrah and new-to-you cinsaut, don’t stay away.
This may be the most important thing to remember when shopping for rosé. If you have an importer you trust, you should be good. We purchased some bottles because of the reputation of their importer, not because of rosé expertise. Lucy recommends Skurnik Wines, Winebow, Kermit Lynch and Hand Picked Selections for starters.
If you’re not stocking the wine at award winning restaurants and bars, maybe ask your favorite general manager or sommelier who they buy from.
Similar to trusting an importer, Lucy also trusts winemakers. This may be applicable for the wine drinker that knows a specific bottle they enjoy at restaurants.
For example, Getariako Txakolina’s Ameztoi Rubentis is Estadio’s go-to rosé. So when Lucy spotted Getariako Txakolina’s Gañeta Rosé on Whole Foods’ shelf, that was the most obvious purchase of the trip. We also picked up a Bonny Doon Vineyard rosé and Muga rosé for the similar reasons.
Not All Wine Is Vegan
Whole Foods occasionally lets the consumer know the wine they’re purchasing is vegan. Isn’t all wine vegan? Not exactly.
“It just means that it’s not filtered with egg whites. A lot of wines are filtered with egg whites. So when I say vegan, that’s what it means to me, that it’s either unrefined completely or they use another process.”
And If You Absolutely Hate Your Purchase?
Here’s a tip that extends beyond rosé.
“Put it in ice water and make it really, really cold. Because the colder the wine is, the more muted the flavors are going to be. And if you have a rosé that you like, I would definitely recommend taking it out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before you’re going to drink it, because you want it to warm up a little bit.”
If that doesn’t work, “You can always make sangria with a bottle of wine. If you add sugar and citrus and some fruit and add some more booze, you can come up with something fun.”
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