My CSA delivery box just arrived, and in it is a fine medley of produce: baby artichokes, lanky asparagus, pink radishes, tiny potatoes, green onions,and sweet peas. Such a springy selection requires rosé, so here is my dream meal. I’d start with Gabrielle Hamilton’s amuse-bouche of three simple ingredients—cool radish, soft butter, and flaky salt—washed down with something lovely from the Loire, Catherine Breton’s Bourgueil La Ritournelle or Joguet’s barely pink Chinon. Next I’d blanch asparagus and reach for a bottle of Sauvignon-esque Reuilly Pinot Gris before moving on to my first main course: Rita Sodi’s Tuscan insalata di carciofi with Parmesan and cracked pepper, whose earthy flavors crave the Corsican maquis of a bottle of Canarelli or Abbatucci. I’d wrap this all up with a warm potato salad, spruced up with peas and scallions, to enjoy with something southern like Dominique Hauvette’s Cinsault-based Petra or a healthy pour of Masseria del Pino’s celestial SuperLuna. We’re offering 20% off select rosés this month, so feel free to dream big!
Best known for its flinty whites made from Sauvignon Blanc, the small Reuilly appellation is also home to another specialty. About one in every five bottles of Reuilly is pink: a pale, delicately colored dry rosé of Pinot Gris. These vins gris are created by directly pressing the berries after harvest, resulting in a short period of skin contact that imbues the slightest salmon hue to these delightfully light, crisp wines. Denis Jamain is a proud ambassador of the appellation whose Domaine de Reuilly is certified both organic and biodynamic—for Denis, essential philosophies to sustainably crafting clean, fresh, terroir-driven wines. His Pinot Gris grows on light soils of sand and gravel, ideal for putting forth the grape’s subtle aromas of fresh fruit. With suggestions of white peach, grapefruit, and flowers, low alcohol, and palate-cleansing acidity, it is perfect for an apéritif at sunset, but it also pairs brilliantly with ceviche, goat cheese, and many Vietnamese dishes.
Purely and simply a thirst-quencher: direct-press Cabernet Franc with a brisk red-fruited twang, some herbaceous zest, and an absolutely mouthwatering zingy finish. Meant to be served from an ice bucket, with a couple pals and maybe a round of goat cheese or some crisp greens.
Angéline, Floureto, Faustine—these are a few of the daughters of vignerons whose names appear on bottles we import. After selling a wine for many years, putting a name to a face is exciting, and we had just that opportunity when Faustine Abbatucci interned with us for the past three months. Perhaps you had the chance to chat with her in our retail shop. Connecting with producers always brings out insights that just can’t come across when simply tasting a bottle. As the French are wont to do, Faustine was quick to correct my French, making sure I knew how to pronounce Corsican grape varieties. Faustine’s rosé is mostly Sciaccarellu, pronounced chya-ca-ray-loo. Please call our shop and ask any salesperson to say this to you so you can hear it for yourself. I hope you pick up a bottle or case of her rosé, too—it’s nearly too easy to drink, with an ethereal quality and what we’ve come to know as classic Corsican characteristics: rosemary and thyme aromatics with a hint of mouth-watering salinity.
I am writing these lines today because somewhere, somehow, a few bottles of the most coveted rosé in Corsica are left for the drinking. They’re not in Corsica, folks. Get yourselves over to the shop before the Corsican locals arrive to reclaim the fruit of their vines: a biodynamic, orange-zesty, multifaceted masterpiece from the most ancient growing region on the island.
Dominique Hauvette’s daring Petra reminds us that rosé should be about wine first and color second. This not-quite-pink beauty doesn’t neatly fit into the rosé category, with its late release, vinous texture, and deep aroma. The blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache is raised slowly in concrete eggs on fine lees to infuse the Provençal terroir. Why give more care and attention to a red wine than to a rosé? I say be audacious! Grab the decanter, let the wine breathe and evolve at the table, and experience what’s beyond the limits of pink.
You won’t encounter many rosés made like this one, literally born from the ashes high on the northern face of Mount Etna. Cesare Fulvio and Federica Turillo, proprietors of Masseria del Pino, produce a few barrels each year inside a reconditioned palmento—one of the ancient little farmhouses that dot Sicily’s rural landscape, where growers once brought their grapes to be pressed. Their method of making rosé, explained by Federica, much resembles what one might have encountered here hundreds of years ago: “We destem the grapes and leave them to macerate in wooden crates for about an hour—the time to eat lunch—and then press off the juice in our basket press. The must goes into tonneaux and fermentation begins naturally.” Recalling a pulp of fresh pomegranate and stone, this atypical rosé is perfect for dishes featuring assertive spice, garlic, cured olives, or briny anchovy.
Absolutely awesome—that’s what I wrote down. I also thought that it would only get better with age. My experience is that great rosés retain their refreshing characteristics over their first two years of life and increasingly relax into themselves, developing length and texture. You’ll be mighty pleased with yourself if you have enough on hand to drink for the next couple of years.
The singular Tavel AOP stands out not just for its production of bright red rosé but also because it happens to be the only appellation in France from which blanc and rouge are excluded. For winemakers Guillaume and Céline Demoulin, this means all their best plots from the hilltops of the Montagne Noire are destined for one heady blend of Grenache, Clairette, Cinsault, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. This dark, autumnal rosé is a beacon of tradition in a sea of paler styles. Its bold, yet versatile personality can carry a meal from the heartiest apéritif of rich rillettes or briny black tapenade all the way through meatier courses like crispy whole fish or garlicky spring lamb.
I love to see the look on my Burgundian husband’s face when he’s confounded by a wine discovery. Recently, we made a spicy barbecued chicken tikka and I proposed this rosé without mentioning its Loire origins, thus avoiding any associations he may have had after a bad experience with herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc. Well, I tell you what. For a guy who says he’s not into Loire wine, he came up with a surprising number of positive descriptors. Fresh. Balanced. Crisp acidity and “ridiculously good with spicy food!” Little did he know that Cabernet Franc is historical for producing some of the world’s most elegant rosé.
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