Drink: In the Pink

Adam Wax­man is feel­ing in the pink

DINE and Destinations - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

Two Guys and a Rosé

HIGH NOON. A cold win­ter’s day. I swing open the door and we en­ter the vin­tage, New York-style sa­loon of Allen’s on the Dan­forth in Toronto. We sur­vey the well­worn, solid-wood booths and pressed-tin ceil­ing, and si­dle up to the clas­sic oak bar. I roll up my sleeves. We or­der thick bone-in rib­eye steaks with a side of crunchy an­cho chili onion rings. “What’ll it be?” Asks the bar­tender. I study the vast Cana­dian whisky, beer and all-vqa wine lists. It’s time to wake up and smell the rosés.

“I have a hard time not pair­ing rosé with a meal, be­cause it’s the eas­i­est,” en­thuses renowned Ni­a­gara wine pro­ducer, Charles Baker. What about pair­ing the steaks with a Cab Sauv or Shi­raz? “You want to avoid high al­co­hol and high spice,” he tells me. “Those two com­bat each other. The high al­co­hol em­pha­sizes the heat. Think about all the light reds that Ital­ians drink with pasta with red sauces. It’s be­cause the acids of toma­toes are very prom­i­nent. The acids in rosé are very prom­i­nent, so it soft­ens out.” The high acid­ity and vibrant straw­berry and cran­berry notes of the Stra­tus Rosé per­fectly complement the ro­bust­ness of this juicy lo­cal Canada beef.

Rosé has be­come a rule-breaker, a game-changer. It’s the go-to sum­mer pa­tio wine be­cause it’s so re­fresh­ing, but there’s also that cel­e­bra­tory im­age, along with its ver­sa­til­ity, which en­livens off-sea­son fes­tiv­i­ties like Thanks­giv­ing, Christ­mas, Valen­tine’s and Easter. “Rosé is the rich­est of white wines, the light­est of red wines; and has the sim­plest and fresh­est ex­pres­sions. If you close your eyes, I bet you you’ll smell the white wine notes and the red wine notes in there,” says Baker. “What works here with spicy onion rings and steaks is that there’s noth­ing com­pli­cated about it. It’s just de­li­cious. You’ve got red meat on the plate; you have rich­ness from the onions. It’s a pretty easy tar­get, right? Plus the acid just keeps it vibrant.”

ROSÉ IS THE PRETTIEST OF WINES and fast be­com­ing the most at­trac­tive. Ni­a­gara winer­ies of­fer a de­li­cious range of styles from which to choose. Malivoire’s Lady Bug is the num­ber one sell­ing rosé at the LCBO. Its jewel tones of Cab Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir flour­ish with zippy ripe berries. For­eign Af­fair Win­ery’s Amarosé is the only ap­pasi­mento style rosé. This unique blend of Pinot Noir, Ries­ling and Chardon­nay has crabap­ple colour, a wild straw­berry nose and a bal­anced palate of ripe berries and cit­rus for a lin­ger­ing fin­ish. Stra­tus Vine­yard’s Wil­dass Rosé is an as­sem­blage of Syrah, Sau­vi­gnon Blanc, Semil­lon and Ries­ling with notes of sum­mer berries and a re­fresh­ing cit­ric spray of grape­fruit that pairs well with bar­beque ribs. Ravine Vine­yard has ded­i­cated an en­tire Cab Franc vine­yard ex­clu­sively to their Caber­net Rosé. Har­vested late for op­ti­mal ripeness, it has an Au­tumn Blaze Maple colour and pro­nounced notes of straw­berry rhubarb. I’ve en­joyed this with a full board of char­cu­terie. An­other de­li­cious and unique rosé is from Cave Springs. Blended Pinot Gris, Ries­ling, Pinot Noir, Caber­net Franc and Gamay co­a­lesce into an el­e­gant and lively juice of plump sum­mer straw­ber­ries that pair beau­ti­fully with grilled sal­mon and even pizza. G. Mar­quis is al­ways unique. I re­cently tasted their Blanc de Noirs Ice Rosé made with 100 per­cent Pinot Noir and a dosage of Caber­net Franc Icewine. El­e­gant sum­mer berries and vi­o­lets. You could pair it with grilled seafood or cheese­cake. Rosé is such a food friendly wine. Michelle Bosc of Château des

Charmes ad­vises me that for pair­ing with a meal, “When in doubt, go for rosé.” Her Rosé Cu­vée D’an­drée is 100 per­cent Pinot Noir, vibrant, crisp and burst­ing with straw­ber­ries and cran­ber­ries. It has the weight to pair with lamb burg­ers with a hint of mint aioli and the acid­ity to pair with a salad with rasp­berry vinai­grette. For Marco Pic­coli, wine­maker at Jack­son Triggs, grow­ing up out­side Veneto, Italy, rosé was al­ways part of the meal. His candy-pink rosé is fresh and youth­ful, with an ef­fer­ves­cent char­ac­ter. An el­e­gantly struc­tured blend of Cab Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay pro­vide strong aro­mat­ics of sweet fruits with a soft acid­ity. This is sim­ply a fun wine.

At In­niskillin Wines there is al­ways the aim of ed­u­cat­ing how best to en­joy your wine with food. The In­niskillin Rosé is ca­sual, light and friendly with notes of wa­ter­melon wrapped in can­died cran­ber­ries. It pairs beau­ti­fully with fruit salad; wa­ter­melon and feta with a rosé, honey and lime vinai­grette; roast turkey with cran­ber­ries; and any grilled meat or veg­etable with a bit of char or smoke.

Rosé is a quiet rebel, chal­leng­ing con­ven­tions. It doesn’t fit into a box. It’s about com­ple­men­tary aro­mat­ics. “Don’t be colour blind,” Baker as­serts. “Why wouldn’t you want a glass of re­fresh­ing wine?”

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