You had me at Rosé! Top three rosé wine recommendations under $15!
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You had me at Rosé! Top three rosé wine recommendations under $15!

As soon as the weather hits above 20 degrees, rose wine starts stacking up on the shelves, and for most of us Quebecers who spend  – lets face half the year in winter – rose signifies summer and sunshine. The excitement of seeing those various shades of pink  in stores is right up there with  sunscreen and sun loungers  – you know summer is coming. SO I think that just the sight  and visual appeal of the wine instantly grabs out attention . 

Another reason for its popularity is its affordability!

The majority of rose wines that we find today will be under or around $20 and they are great quality.  These wines are affordable because they tend to be less expensive to make – they are usually ready to hit the market the year after harvest.  When it comes to red and white wine, there are usually oak barrels involved where the wine sits and ages for a certain amount of time. But with rose, the wine goes into stainless steel vats or used , neutral barrels – and the result is a more refreshing, younger and affordable wine that is easy on the palate.

The versatility of Rosé

Rose , is so versatile –  With so many different kinds of wine from all over the world with all these different flavour profiles, rose can be enjoyed by the casual drinker, or even by those who take wine a little more seriously . But drinkers do not have to stress about a rose – its fun and easy enough that you can have it all on its own, or pair it with food easily. No matter what rose you chose, it should have ripe fruit flavours , a great acidity and savoury notes like spice for example, that it makes you want to partake on casual sips,  and perhaps partake on some harmless ( but responsible ) day drinking.

It’s Food friendly!

Just remember that when pairing wine and especially rose,  you want it to have the same flavour intensity of the food – you don’t want  the flavours of one to over power the other. What You want, is to enhance the tasting experience of both.

So because rose wine will have bitter, sweet and acidic taste components – you want that to match the food, but also allow for some contrast the same time .  Things like pork, fish, cured meats, would go great with rose, especially if its sautéed or fried – that acid in the wine will contrast and cut nicely against the fat in the food. So its also great to have with a soft cheese like a brie for example and especially seafood…

The serving temperature should be anywhere between 8-10 degrees, but if you aren’t sure of temperature just think about the 20:20 rule. If you are serving a white or rosé wine , take it OUT of the fridge 20 minutes before serving. If it is a red wine, pop it IN the fridge 20 minutes before serving. 

How do you get that colour?

The harvested grapes goes through the maceration process from anywhere between a few hours to a week. The shorter the period, the lighter the colour. After maceration, the wine is drawn off and fermented to full dryness.

Direct press is a variation that helps make very pale rosés from darker skinned berries.

Rather than allow a maceration period, the grapes are pressed and the juice is immediately drawn off the skins. However, as the skins break during pressing, the juice will take on a hint of colour and flavour. This method yields a delicate rosé, one that’s faint in colour and favours of citrus and red fruits.

Saignee Method

Rosé can also be made in conjunction with red wine.  The process for making these rosés is called “bleeding”.  As soon as the juice has achieved the desired colour, part of the juice is siphoned off (or bleed) the skins to be fermented on its own. The rest of the juice stays with the skins to be fermented fully as a red wine. 

What about white Zinfandel?

White Zinfandel is a sweet rose wine, and it was actually created by accident. During the 1970’s in California, someone named  Bob Trinchero was trying to make a really deeply coloured zinfandel, and so they skimmed off 500 gallons of liquid that had only been soaking with skin for a few days after pressing. Their thinking was that if they removed some of the liquid, the ratio of more skin would create a more intense red colour.   The juice they skimmed off became a rose and it had a pink colour that was very light so they decided to bottle and name it as a white zinfandel. Fast forward a few years later, another mistake happened  when they experienced a stuck fermentation. ( A stuck fermentation is when the yeast dies before all the sugar has been converted to alcohol so the resulting wine is sweet.)  It  became a massive success which a lot of people enjoy! 

Listel Gris

SAQ: 270272  $11.35

This is coming from the south of France and is made with Grenache, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Lots of strawberry and citrus, some floral components with a really nice balance of fruit and acidity.  It gives a nice, soft, fruity finish – with a touch of a rhubarb bite at the end. This wine is simple, yet very enjoyable.

This is a wine where you crack it open, pour a glass at lunch or before dinner. I’ve had this with a prosciutto bruschetta of sorts. Toast slices of a baguette with a little olive oil, sea salt, some shave some parmesan on top with a little bit prosciutto – its amazing.

Alternately this would be great with a charcuterie plate , some cured meats, cheese, olives etc., A Crudités ( crunchy veg platter) ) This would be great with shrimp or a Niçoise salad. All of these nice light meals would pair  wonderfully with this delicate wine.

Buti Nages

SAQ:427625  $14.95 ( Currently on sale for $13.95)

I love love love this wine! The layers of fruit come out bit by bit : lots raspberry and cherry notes and little bit of pomegranate – with some soft spice and a bit of salty component , which gives it a lip smacking finish. Fantastic acidity here , great structure with ripe fruit.

Lobster is in season, so it makes a simple enough pairing that but if you had some leftover,  you could make the most delicious lobster roll.  Mix it with a little mayo, tarragon, garlic, put it in a fried brioche bun.. the sweet flavours you get from the wine, will balance nicely with the richness of the lobster but also the buttery and toasted texture of that brioche bun cuts nicely with the acidity of the wine

La Vieille Ferme Rosé Luberon

SAQ: 13288832 $12.95

This is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah

From the Luberon area in Rhônes southernmost appellation.  It is a hot area , but with some high elevations with cool nights,  which creates some incredibly crisp wines in this area such as this one.  This wine is really food friendly. It has a nice soft strawberry note with cranberry, honeydew melon and some tart red fruit flavours that are balanced by the refreshing acidity with a slight rhubarb bite at the end. The finish of the wine really persists with that fruit and spice….and its a gastronomic wine – This would be great with a scallop crudo and Meyer lemon, olive oil,  with thinly sliced radish and cucumber…. That radish would marry nicely with the spicy elements of the wine.

Alternatively, you could go with a lightly marinated teriyaki salmon over couscous and roasted vegetables on the grill. A step up in substance and depth, yet would work nicely with the savoury components of the wine.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk about rosé wine, and boast about these 3 beatiful wines mentioned above, with Ken Connors from CJAD 800.  To hear my interview, click on the link below.