Since I first started buying wines for restaurants in the late 1980s, I’ve found rosé is often misunderstood and shunned by many customers, even though it is among the most refreshing wines for summer. All the best versions are dry or just a touch sweet. Yet white zinfandel (which is a rosé) is consumed in the range of millions of cases per year. Comparatively, those dry, higher quality rosés often see consumption numbers falling lower than 100,000 cases.
Why is it that dry rosé is dwarfed by the huge production of the sweeter white zinfandel? Certainly some people like sweeter wines, especially those who are new to wine consumption. But if you spend more time drinking a dry rosé with a meal, you will accustom your palate to the drier wine, and eventually enjoy it more on its own.
Rosé, like sparkling wine, can be enjoyed on its own on a hot summer afternoon. But, also like sparkling wine, I find that rosé always shows its best features when paired with the right food. Rosé is delightful with daytime meals. Sandwiches and salads tend to pair particularly well, as well as mid-afternoon snacks like smoked salmon or a selection of light cheeses and fruit.
Rosé comes from all over the world, and from almost all red wine grape varietals. But the best are often only produced in limited quantities and often sold exclusively at their respective wineries. In your travels, you would do well to seek them out and experience the pleasure they can provide.
Some of the most famous rosé is found in the South of France (from the area of Provence), as well as Spain, Italy and, of course, the U.S. In fact, most American wineries have rosé in their arsenal, and though they may not produce large quantities of it, it is often something they are proud of and certainly worth trying.
I went searching for a good rosé in Seaside, and found some interesting options. Although white zinfandel is by far the volume leader in America, it is scarce in Seaside; most common here are the dryer versions, and not the most popular options offered by the glass.
At Crush, we offer a white zinfandel, as well as a dry rosé from Provence, France, called Atmosphere. In addition, we offer a dry sparkling rosé, Veuve de Verney, by the split. Great Southern Café offers a dry French rosé called Moulis de Gassac, and a dry French sparkling rosé, Francois Montard, which the bartender told me sells much better than the dry, still rose. Bud & Alley’s serves up a mostly-dry California rosé named Sofia by Coppola. The Pizza Bar offers Fisher Unity Rose, a dry California rosé, which is really quite good. And Modica Market sells a half dozen rosé brands from various points around world. They are all very good, but if you are looking for something particular, just ask owner Charlie Modica for his recommendation. And, of course, all wines taste even better when savored in beautiful Seaside.