In mid-July, I wrote about rosés, but the rapidly expanding popularity of the category merits a re-visit. A quick peek at the LCBO website indicates that there are over 300 listings for rosés. Some are duplicates because of bottle size, and some are just carried for the summer in “seasonal limited quantities”, but all in all, that is still a lake-full of pink wine.
An article in the Financial Post of August 26 indicated that Canadians drank over 21 million bottles of Rosé last year, up almost 25 per cent in just five years. While wine-drinking in Canada grew over 4 per cent from 2015 to 2016, Rosé’s share of the increase was close to double that.
According to the Post, much of the popularity is with the young and status-conscious crowd, who seem to like the image it presents. The LCBO’s top-selling Ontario Rosé (bearing the Vintner’s Quality Alliance designation) is Colio’s Girls Night Out with sales up over 35 per cent from the year previous. There is good marketing here, as the image featuring a cocktail dress is clearly associated with good times.
Don’t think, however, that Colio’s success is based on image alone. Sales of VQA quality rosés throughout Ontario have grown a phenomenal 47 per cent in just one year.
If you have already jumped on the rosé bandwagon, here are a few more to tempt you. If you are just getting started, these will help you to understand what the fuss is all about.
With our cool climate wine-making, Ontario is well-placed for the production of tasty pink wines combining expressive fruit and thirst-quenching acidity. Among the many options available, Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2016, $17.35, promises ripe- red berry fruit along with watermelon, perhaps. One writer indicates pomegranate, which ties right in with sweet but tart fruit. Versatile, it has been described as a “patio sipper” or a wine to enjoy with such diverse entrées as turkey, wild salmon, or even barbecued ribs.
Widely available at $16.95 is Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2016, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Gamay. It, too, is tangy and expressive with strawberry and yes, pomegranate. Writers at winealign.com consider it Ontario’s most successful Rosé.
Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Cabernet Rosé 2015, $14.95, is made from Cabernet Franc, and it evidences strawberry, tangy raspberry and rhubarb (a perfect descriptor for Ontario “pinks”). This has a bit more residual sugar -15g/l, but still impresses as dry.
Flat Rock Cellars Twisted Rosé 2016, $17.95, is yet another sound Ontario example. Cranberry and cherry may be noted, and serving suggestions include soft cheeses, nuts, and fresh fruit.
An “old world” pink from Spain is the Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rosado 2016, $12.95. A 50/50 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, It has been described as bone-dry and crunchy with good red strawberry fruit along with citrus and herb tones, according to the LCBO.
For something a little different – and inexpensive, there’s Sogrape Gazela Vinho Verde Rosé, $9.45 a blend from Portugal with some effervescence to it. Light and refreshing, it, too has red berry fruit characteristics along with banana, according to the producer.
According to last week’s Globe and Mail, the in-crowd is not only sipping rosés “straight”, but are also enjoying them in cocktails of the slurpy/slushy variety –the Globe referred to them as “Frosés”.
On-line, you can find several recipes for Frosés, but the basic ingredient is a bottle of rosé, poured into a pan or ice cube tray for 6-8 hours. Then, incorporate with strawberries sugar and lemon juice. Check the internet to find the recipe that works for you. Bon Appetit, Cosmopolitan, and the Food Network all have their takes on the drink, and the“Realsimple.com” recipe below also adds vodka and grenadine to the mix.
1 bottle of dry rosé (750 ml.)
2 cups sliced strawberries (more for garnish is optional)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup vodka
2 tablespoons grenadine (the syrup, tart and sweet was originally made from pomegranate. It should be available at a good supermarket.)
Step 1 – Pour the rosé into ice cube trays and freeze 8 hours or overnight
Step 2 – combine strawberries and sugar in the bowl of a blender and let sit about 10 minutes, until the berries begin to release their juices.
Step 3 – Add the vodka, grenadine and Rosé cubes, and blend on high until smooth.
Step 4 – Pour into glasses, and garnish with strawberries, if desired.
September 16 Vintages Release
Featherstone Four Feathers 2016, $14.95. With 11 g/l. of sugar, this is still dry, but the aromatic blend will appeal especially to those with a bias towards Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Winealign.com’s Sara d’Amato calls it “nervy with delicate notes of pear, rosehip, chalk and lime.” She says it has excellent length and scores it 92.
Ryder Chardonnay 2015, $17.95 from California’s Central Coast took gold as best of class at the 2017 California State Fair. Wineonline.ca references “ripe flavors of white peach, Asian pear, vanilla and citrus finish with a hint of creamy, honeyed oak.”
Zenato San Benedetto Lugana 2016, $17.95 is a solid stand-by from the Veneto in the region bordering Lake Garda. It is integrated and “driven by an underlying minerality that frames crunchy green pear and apricot fruit” - winespectator.com – 88.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014, $29.95. A great deal of care was taken in the production of this deep, rich and seamless white wine. Sourced from cooler regions of the Napa Valley, the greater part was fermented in French oak, about one third new barrels. The wine was aged on its lees and hand-stirred over a nine-month period to create great integration and a creamy texture. The impression is of a very fine wine that is totally incorporated and very impressive. A celebration in itself, it is perfect on its own and can also accompany richer dishes, particularly if a cream sauce is involved.
Alceno Premium 50 Barricas Syrah 2014, $14.95 is a dependable Spanish red from the Jumilla region. According to gilbert gaillard.com, it is “a savoury, acidic and fruity wine…with fine tannins and refined toast. Excellent.” – 92
Falernia Reserva Carmenère 2015, $14.95, is called an “acquired taste”, according to robertparker.com. The fruit was allowed to hang two months later than normal, and is free of any green notes that can plague the varietal, and yet it is not over-ripe either. - 89
Wits End Luna Shiraz 2015, $17.95, from Australia’s McLaren Vale. Calling it a “ripper and a bargain”, winecompanion.com.au says it is “brimming with bright fruit…interspersed with licorice, dark chocolate, dried herbs and florals. - 95
Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 Lodi, $21.95. Situated at the northern end of California’s Central Valley, Lodi is becoming more and more recognized for its Zinfandels, and this wine makes it clear that the esteem is justified. As smooth as velvet, with 20 per cent Petit Syrah in the blend, the wine delivers great dark fruit which on the finish may even remind you of Port. The balance is as good as it gets, and there is even an inter-play of coffee and chocolate in the after-taste. If Oliver Twist drank wine, he would be saying, “Please, Sir, I want some more.”
La Terrazza Franzisi Wine Tasting, Saturday September 16
A reminder that the wine-tasting dinner at La Terrazza Franzisi at Richards Landing on St. Joseph Island is just one week away. Chef Sal Franzisi who previously plied his trade in Santa Monica, California, will prepare five courses, including Pasta alla Siciliana and Beef Wellington. I will be creating some distinctive pairings to complement the dishes. Cost for the event is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. To register, please call the restaurant at 705-246-1500.