With National Rosé Day just around the corner on Saturday, June 10, Wine:ThirtyFlight would just like to put it on the record that we were on the Rosé train way before it was trendy and became a fad. That said, despite some smugness about being the OGs of Rosé, I am still fully on board with a good trend and will gladly rock a Rosé All Day shirt while sipping on some Frosé down by the Georgetown Waterfront. I also plan to check out the new Rosé Gardens that Washingtonian magazine wrote about a couple weeks ago, in hopes that Rosé Gardens will in fact become the new Beer Garden!
Trendiness aside, Rosé is a highly versatile and should be treated similarly to red or white wine. “Cab Franc Rosé” is to “rosé wine” just as “Chardonnay” is to “white wine”. It bothers me when I see Rosé get lumped into a single category as though it were a varietal (i.e. single type of grape). Fortunately, mainstream American culture has shifted away from White Zinfandel as the poster child for blush wines, and has started to recognize Rosé for what it is. There are several methods of making Rosé, but the most popular is similar to that of red wine, however the juice is only left in contact with the skins for a short period of time – ranging from only a couple of hours to a couple of days. Many different types of grapes can be used for Rosé with some of our favorites being Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Pinot Noir. Varietals differ by region, but since it is so versatile, you can find good Rosés in the majority of regions.
For this year’s National Rosé Day we are going to take you back to Slate Wine Bar in Glover Park, which you might remember from the German wine dinner Kathleen wrote about in the spring. Kathleen and I were lucky enough to attend the Rosé Sommelier Night hosted by the fabulous Danny Lledo, Slate’s Chef/Sommelier on April 27th. Danny was pouring both a European Rosé Flight with 4 wines and an American Rosé Flight with 3 wines. Kathleen and I did not want to let you guys down, so we tried both flights. Here are our favorites...
2015 Red Car Rosé (Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, California)
We agreed 100% with the tasting sheet’s description of “aromatic profile of tangerine oil, pink grapefruit, and cherries.” This is a full, creamy rosé with great body. Even so, it is still super refreshing with a crisp grapefruit, not unlike a La Croix water. Hands down our favorite of the night.
2016 Figuiere Le St. Andre IGP Rosé (Cab/Syrah/Cinsault/Grenache from Provence, France)
This Provence Rosé is complex on both the nose and palate. The Cab and Syrah offer distinct tobacco and vanilla aromas, complemented by rich berries from the Grenache. There is a candy palette with refreshing acidity, and notes of apple and pear.
2016 Castano (Monastrell from Yecla, Spain)
Surprise surprise, a Spanish option was one of our favorites ☺ This Monastrell Rosé has a balanced structure, and is a bit fuller and creamier than the other European options. Vanilla pipe smoke and tobacco dominate both the nose and palate.
2016 Wolffer (Merlot/Char/Cab/C.Franc from Long Island, New York)
At some point we will dedicate a post to Long Island Rosé because we have been pleasantly surprised by some fantastic options over the past year. With a delicate, slightly floral nose, this wine has a smooth flavor of lemon cake and peaches, and finishes full. A great choice for a summer day.
If you live in (or visit) the Washington, DC area and haven’t had a chance to check out Slate yet, we highly recommend it. There are huge balcony windows that open up to the street for a breezy bistro feel on a nice spring or summer day in the early evening. There are also cozy interior spaces for a romantic date, and plenty of space for a girls night out. Slate will host a Summer Wine Sommelier Wine Tasting Night on Thursday, June 22. If you can’t make it to that one, look out for one in the future – they are great events and a perfect opportunity to check out curated wine flights and some great food!