The abomination known as white zinfandel has given rosé wines a bad name. What a shame. A good rosé makes a fine spring tonic and pairs beautifully with fish, shellfish and all sorts of light fare, from chicken salad to mild soft and semi-soft cheeses.
Rosé, traditionally one from Provence, is the classic quaff with bouillabaisse, Marseilles’ signature fish stew. Another fine choice is Florent de Brie’s Rosé d’Anjou from the Loire Valley, a particular favorite among drinkers of pink wine in Belgium and the Netherlands. (I don’t know why, but it makes an interesting footnote, doesn’t it?) This wine is just sweet enough for a white zinfandel drinker looking to move up, dry enough to tease rather than coat the palate, and offers plenty of lively fruit for everyone. Expect to pay about $10.
Constant readers will know that one of my favorite rosés comes from the Mendoza region of Argentina. Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec (also about $10) is delightfully flirty, all blushes and giggles and so pretty in pink. This is a robust example of its kind, exuberant with ripe strawberries, raspberries and cherries tempered by a bit of astringent gooseberry. It finishes remarkably clean.
On a trip to Manhattan not long ago, I spent an afternoon sampling a host of rosés at Morel Wine Bar, one of my habitual midtown haunts. A standout was a South African wine, a Mulderbosch Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, which sells locally in the $13 range. While white zinfandel typically is thin and unsatisfying, this wine combines a mouth feel nearly as rich as that of a young cab with the liveliness and grace of the best rosés. The top note is luscious ripe strawberry underpinned by just enough lemon zest to keep it wonderfully dry and crisp.