The Spanish call it rosado, while Italians refer to it as rosato. But in France and almost everywhere else, it’s rosé. The blush-hued wine has come into fashion over the last five years after finally overcoming negative stereotypes. This is nothing like the bubblegum pink bottle of André you swiped from your aunt’s wine rack and it’s not saccharine sweet like many white zins.
Quite the contrary. The best varietals are clean, crisp, and fruity. “The great charm of rosé is that it has an extroverted personality,” says Jason Jacobeit, wine director of Bâtard in New York City. “It’s so companionable that it’s easy to enjoy with anything.”
That makes it a perfect pick for couples celebrating on Valentine’s Day.
Here’s some more good news: they’re easy on the wallet. “The market usually tops out around $30,” says Jacobeit, “so you can get great bang for your buck.”
And there’s no waiting around for your rosé to aerate. “You can pop and pour,” says Jacobeit.
The longstanding wisdom has been that a rosé should be opened eight to 12 months after it’s bottled. However, now that’s not necessarily the case. “A lot of rosés have more multidimensional qualities, so they can age a few years,” says Jacobeit. “They will show extra personality with time in the bottle.”
Additionally, conventional thinking dictates that rosé should be served like white wine – very cold in a U-shaped glass. Hold that thought, says Jacobeit, who recommends 50 degrees Fahrenheit as the ideal temperature. He prefers using rounder Burgundy glasses with larger openings. “You get to appreciate the floral aromas and the minerality,” he says.
He has several bottles he personally recommends for lovebirds on Cupid’s holiday. The “eminently drinkable” Bruno Clair Marsannay rosé has gorgeous raspberry and strawberry flavors with a top note of fresh flowers. “Like any wine from Burgundy, it has beautiful stoniness and fresh minerality,” he adds.
A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre goes into Chateau Morgues de Grès’ Capitelles rosé, which adds weight and texture. “A beautiful aperitif, it works well with food or on its own,” says Jacobeit. “It’s not just a party quaffer; it’s an artisan rosé.”
For those willing to splurge, he points to Delavennne’s brut rosé, which is crafted in Champagne. “It has the elegance and silkiness of Champagne,” says Jacobeit. “There’s an expansive, creamy texture and great fruit notes. I have an unhealthy fascination with it.”
No matter what you choose, Jacobeit can’t advocate for rosé enough. “There’s something special about enjoying a beautiful glass of pink wine as you look across the table at someone who makes you happy,” he says.
To explore rosé wines with Jacobeit and his team, make a reservation at Bâtard.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credit: Bonphotage.