This Summer, Everything's Coming Up Rosé
July 16, 2015
Originally published in The Wall Street Journal
Filed under: Food & Dining
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As New York City settles into the season of floaty skirts and chambray button-downs, restaurants and bars are taking advantage of the warm weather to spotlight a spectrum of rosé wines.

The Gander, a seasonal American restaurant, is toasting to summer with Hip Hip Rosé!, which features five $25 bottles of rosé from around the world from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

At King Bee, the Hour of Good Cheer special pairs a signature burger and a glass of bubbly rosé for $20. On weekends, Pearl & Ash hosts Rosé All Damn Day, which features a special snack menu and frequent rotations of rosé on their outdoor patio.

"We can't deny the awesomeness of rosé. Every country and every region makes rosé," says Keith Beavers, who owns In Vino, an Italian restaurant in the East Village with a rosé special called Chalkboard Roulette.

Each weekday, Mr. Beavers will pick a rosé, write its name on his outdoor chalkboard and serve it at $5 a glass between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Despite its breezy, easy drinking reputation, rosés display a wide range of flavor profiles. Sheer blush rosés may have grapefruit and lime notes, while darker rosés can have red wine characteristics, such as strawberry or cherry tones.

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"There's a lot of fun experimentation going on in Italy that I can expose people to," Mr. Beavers says. "I'm into the wackiest stuff right now."

"I just tasted a rosé that was Corvina and Merlot. Who the hell does that?" Mr. Beavers says with a laugh. "It's almost this pink gray wine, but when you sip it, it has the beautiful suppleness of a Merlot. It's bizarre and I like it."

Not every rosé pushes the flavor envelope.

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With pale, coppery rosés, look to food pairings with subtle flavors, such as plain oysters or grilled prawns with olive oil and lemon, the Gander's wine director, Andrew Lakin, says.

For pairing the Gander's sea trout tartare, which is served with pickled trout roe, capers and Worcestershire béarnaise, Mr. Lakin points to a delicate rosé from Billsboro Winery, a small producer from New York's Finger Lakes region. Cool temperatures in the Finger Lakes means that grapes don't ripen too much, revealing drier, more acidic wines.

"Having a rosé like this with this high piercing acidity really helps elevate the entire dish," Mr. Lakin says.

As rosés get darker, they can be paired in the same way red wines can.

"If it's summertime, and you grilled these beautiful steaks, maybe you don't want to drink a California cab outside in 90° heat," Mr. Lakin says. "Find a rosé that has that tannin structure and it will hold up to it."

In terms of unexpected pairings, In Vino's Mr. Beavers will be nudging customers to try chef James Kelly's spaghettini with Cincinnatus' chili, cranberry beans and aged cheddar.

"It's going to be hot out in August. We're going to have a Cincinnati chili dish, which is not a winter dish," Mr. Beavers says. "We're doing our version of a chili cook-off in the summer. I would love to pair it with rosé."

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