Food & Drink

The Time for Rosé Is Upon Us

Expert Sommelier Greg Van Wagner with Five Wines to Drink Now

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You may have noticed something in the air (warmth).

Something on your face (sunglasses).

And other positive somethings popping up all around you—sunshine, sundresses, patios.

Yes, spring is moving toward summer, and your hand is likely moving toward a wine-shaped bottle of refreshing liquid.

That’s where Greg Van Wagner comes in. He’s the accomplished sommelier behind the wine programs at Jimmy’s and Jimmy’s Bodega in Aspen. And he’s a champion for rosé, that always-a-good-time wine that tends to come out of hibernation about now.

Says Greg: “Rosé is probably one of the greatest underdog-turned-success stories of the last five years in the wine world. Sommeliers have always loved rosé due to its versatility at the table and overall non-pretentiousness and fun attitude, but now all wine drinkers are catching on to the secret.”

He also notes that, with rosé, you should always go for the youngest vintage you can find because it’s a wine that drinks better when fresh.

Now, as far as when to drink it, Greg provides this sage advice: “My rule of thumb: if you need sunglasses, it’s time to drink rosé. On a boat, on the river, at a picnic... You get the idea. You may see pink bottles popping up this time of year in your local wine shop. The reason is that 2015 bottles are dropping from March to June, and this is the time of year when consumers tend to drink the most rosé.”

Okay, you’ve got your marching orders. But which ones to drink? And say you are in fact having a picnic: what to drink it with? Easy. Just sit back, listen to Greg and be content in not having to make any decisions. Because below he recommends five rosés to drink right now, plus the foods you’ll want to bring along for the ride.

1. Château de Berne Impatience, Côtes de Provence
“This classic Provençal-style wine is fresh, pretty and well suited for groups of guests with a variety of tastes.”
Drink it with: Crab legs, ceviche and lobster.

2. Guado al Tasso Scalabrone, Tuscany
“Pick your favorite Super Tuscan, and chances are good that the Antinori family produces it. The grape blend is similar on this rosé, a full-bodied blend of cabernet, merlot and syrah coming from the family estate vineyards in Bolgheri. It’s a little more on the fruit-forward side of things, but still dry.”
Drink it with: Pulled-pork BBQ.

3. Domaine Tempier Bandol, Provence
“It’s a little hard to come by, but if you see it in the wine store, jump on it. From Bandol in the South of France, this mourvèdre-based rosé has enough power and structure to hold its own against richer and bolder dishes.”
Drink it with: Grilled steak.

4. Stolpman Rose Ballard Canyon, Santa Barbara
“From rock star winemaker Sashi Moorman, this 100% grenache is purposely styled to produce a light and quaffable wine that leaves you begging for more. Coming in at just 11% alcohol by volume, it’s delicate, balanced and designed for sipping all afternoon without putting you under the table by sunset.”
Drink it with: Prosciutto and cheeses during a picnic-style lunch.

5. Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, Champagne
“Rosé champagne is the queen of the category, and I think Billecart-Salmon is the best example from a prestigious producer that you don’t have to bleed your wallet to enjoy. Start off as a single glass for a celebratory ‘cheers’ and end up enjoying the bottle all the way through dinner.”
Drink it with: Just about anything.

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