6 wines that will change your mind about rosé

Stereotype-shattering B.C. rosé wines and foods to pair with them 

A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel attached to his crotch.

Bartender asks, “What’s with the steering wheel?”

Pirate replies, “Yarr! It’s drivin’ me nuts.”

Wine-wise, want to know what drives me nuts? The fact that rosé wines are still considered to be frivolous, that they are for teenage girls, or even that they are just sweet, simple wines. Whether they’re called Rosado, blush, rosé, pink, or anything else, these are wines that are sleek, sexy, and yes, tasty.

There are a few ways to make pink wines, the least legitimate of which is by blending white and red wines together (except in champagne where that is considered the best way), while the rest of the world makes good rosé using red grapes and only letting the juice come into contact with the grape skins for a short period of time. Done well, the wine exhibits some of the classic flavours of the grapes used while retaining softer fruit presence, a touch of spice, and very little to no perceptible tannins.

Most rosé are quite dry, and have plenty of acidity. (Seeing where I’m going with this?) Rosés are great with food. They handle salads and seafoods with aplomb. Grilled poultry? No problem. Smokies on the barbecue? Again, easy as punch. And finally, they are damn good well-chilled and enjoyed on a patio or deck.

To prove my point, here are six well-crafted, B.C. rosés you should try this summer.

Sandhill 2012 Rosé, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

A highly unusual blend (for the Okanagan) of Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Sangiovese, and Barbera: the nose has some brambly fruits, cranberry, and crushed raspberries and a little spice. Slightly tart in the mouth with consistent flavours.

Enjoy it with: A little tannin presence calls for duck, fine sausages (like Spolumbo’s) or similar.

Around $17 in B.C. and AB.

Quails’ Gate 2013 Rosé, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Mostly Gamay and Pinot Noir with a little Pinot Gris for good measure, this rosé is very pale: ballet slipper pink in the glass. The nose has Popeye candy cigarette, while strawberry fruits win the day in the fruit category.

Enjoy it with: Pretty well bone dry, I’d pair with carpaccios, or the tasty creatures of the sea, such as octopus or crab.

$16-20 in B.C. and AB.

Tinhorn Creek 2013 Oldfield Series, 2 Bench Rosé, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Rocking the Cabernet Franc (and I’m hot for this grape now), this one has got rhubarb, cranberry, strawberries, a touch of cedar, and a definite floral component. Nice and dry, it has a bit of leanness on the palate, waiting to find a match with something with a touch of oil.

Enjoy it with: Seafoods, summer salads, or on the deck with some almonds.

$23 at the winery and B.C. shops; about $25 in AB

Spierhead 2013 Pinot Noir Rosé, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

I love the almost-electric pink colour of this Pinot Noir rosé. Aromas are packed with fruits, mostly raspberry with somewhat jammy characters. It’s a lot like raspberry swirl ice cream. The little sweetness on the plate is enjoyable, with good acids and solid balance.

Enjoy it with: The best way to enjoy this is with your feet up, in the sunshine with a well-chilled glass in hand.

$20 B.C. Only

JoieFarm 2013 Rosé, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

A blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay and about 10 grams of sugar make this off-dry beauty shine. Bright raspberry and strawberry fruits, a touch of jam, and a little herb and spice notes on the nose. vibrant and lively in the mouth, it’s so refreshing it’s almost a shame to try and break it down. Drink up my friends.

$21 in B.C.; $31 in AB

CedarCreek 2013 Rosé “Pinot Noir”, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Another one of the sweeter wines in the bunch. The nose is packed full of strawberry fruits and all the adjectives you want to use to describe strawberries.

Enjoy it with: The sweetness is a little more prominent in this one than the others, but easy, tasty, and should prove versatile with charcuterie or grilled poultry and so on.

$18-21 in B.C. and AB