Shower Mom with love, affection and lots of roses this weekend, but maybe not the rose you think. As we roll from spring into summer, new vintage rosé wines are popping up on store shelves throughout the Big Island, and “rosé all day” toasts are happening daily.
Sparkling wine shines in celebration of Mom, with fun, flirty bubbles. New from Napa’s Domaine Chandon, their 45th anniversary vintage Blanc de Noirs ($25) with just a whisper of pink, produced in a very dry, Brut style highlights incredible structure and character. Or, from their sister company, classic Moët &Chandon NV Imperial Brut Rosé Champagne layers juicy red berry, apple and yeasty brioche. Or splurge a bit on Mom with the recently released, seven-year aged 2009 Moët &Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé ($70), produced only in exceptional years, melding ripe cherry, raspberry and toasted spice notes.
When considering still, non-sparkling rosé, I often break it down into three sections. First, rosé made in a Provencal style using classic Rhone, France varieties like Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault. Second, those made from Pinot noir, like the stellar selections from France’s Loire Valley, or Willamette Valley, Oregon. And, lastly, everything else, using any red grape variety imaginable.
Provence, France has been producing rosé since 600 BC when ancient Greeks first brought grapes to the region. One of the very best is from ultra-premium producer, Domaines Ott, who has been crafting exceptional rosé since 1896. Their By.Ott Côtes de Provence Rosé ($35) shines with vibrancy and elegance, layering floral and earthy Herbs de Provence aromas with mandarin and fresh fig. Additional delicious selections from Provence, or made in a similar style, include Domaines de Triennes ($22), M. Chapoutier Côtes-du-Rhône Belleruche ($15), and Cote des Roses ($20) from Languedoc, France producer, Gérard Bertrand.
Pinot noir is the ideal variety for rosé as its fruit-forward style radiates as the wine of summer. Depending on winemaker and region, the wines can be very light in color and body, or richer with deeper color and gastronomic flavors. From Sancerre, France, Henri Bourgeois Jeunes Vignes Rosé ($25) is fresh, juicy and playful. Flowers Winery exudes refinement in their Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir ($40) with spring lilac, strawberry, and melon notes. Red cherry, berry, and wildflowers leap from glasses of the rosé wines of New Zealand, like that from Matua ($20), Wairau River ($23) and Kim Crawford ($20).
And really, any red variety can be produced as a rosé. With the overall appreciation of rosé continuing to rise, with double-digit sales growth year after year, more and more wineries are choosing to create a rosé wine from varieties like Merlot, Sangiovese, and even highly tannic Tannat. Standouts include Ceynth Rosé of Cabernet Franc ($30) with wild rose, grapefruit, and lilikoi and savory Tormaresca Calafuria Rosé of Negroamaro ($25) from Puglia, Italy with golden peach, orange blossom and earthy minerality.
Hayley Hamilton Cogill is a sommelier, wine writer, and educator. Together with her husband Gary Cogill, an Emmy award-winning film critic, they host “Cogill Wine And Film, A Perfect Pairing” podcast on reVolverPodcasts.com while living on Hawaii Island in Kamuela while both writing for West Hawaii Today.