The Clayton Park Wire
More people are opting to drink pink
As you enter your local liquor stores, you might notice a new shade in the wine section this spring. Amongst the whites and reds, there is now a large streak of pink (rosé). It’s heartening to see that the category is getting its due thanks to massively increasing sales of classic dry rosé driven by a younger, wine savvy population that is slightly oblivious to the sweet pink wines such Portugal’s Mateus and sugary White Zinfandel that dominated store shelves in the latter part of the last century.
So what represents a great rosé? The best ones deliver the fruit qualities of red wine but with the body and crisp finishes associated with great white wines. Some are made in a bone-dry style, but this is a rare exception, with most classic styles veering to dry or off-dry. Achieving rosé perfection is challenging as you want the flavours to be ripe (more berry fruit than herbaceous and vegetal) but with all the natural crisp acidity you get in grapes grown in cooler climates. The leaders are the pale hued pinks of Provence, which veer to the drier side and offer subtle fruit flavours.
FIVE GREAT ROSÉ WINE STYLES
The wine world is in love with Provençale rosé. These pale hued wines, often made predominantly from Grenache (but a list of other varietals are allowed) are typically
dry, fresh and delicate.
While harder to find in local stores, Rose D’Anjou in the Loire Valley of France remains a world classic. The wines are made typically from Cabernet Franc, Grolleau and others. Usually, they are darker and slightly sweeter than Provençale
Did you know Pinot Gris (Grigio) is a red-skinned grape? In Northern Italy, a delightful pink-hued Pinot Gris style is produced. However, for pure popularity expect to pop a bottle of Prosecco Rosé this spring. The new mint wine style is pink, bubbly and lightly fruity.
Spain only trails France in pink wine production. Expect more colour and richness from Spanish rosados (rosé) than French counterparts.
While a few producers produce traditional rosé (made only by lightly pressing red grapes to extract a small amount of colour), most are made to good effect by blending white wine with a dash of red. Nova Scotia’s cool climate infuses these pinks with freshening, food friendly acidity.
Three dishes to enjoy with rosé this spring
The challenge of finding a wine for the charcuterie board is not overwhelming the individual components. Pink is your answer.
The delicate nature of many rosé wines make them a great match for lighter shellfish such as clams and shrimp.
More substantive rosés such as those from Spain can handle the richer texture of trout and salmon.
Nova Scotia wineries are doing a good job with rosé, and are using some crafty (not always traditional) methods, including mixing red and white grapes to achieve the right balance of fruit character and crisp acidity. Outside of our home province, many of the best come from Spain and France; the latter is a country that has always considered the style legitimate in its own right. The most popular French rosé wines are from the Cotes de Provence, Anjou (Loire Valley) and Bordeaux (labelled as Bordeaux Rosé or Clairet), while across the border in Spain you can look for the Rosado wines emerging from Rioja and Navarra.
Clams & Chorizo
• Big splash olive oil
• 1 shallot, diced
• 1 2-inch piece Spanish-style chorizo (dry-cured), diced 2-3 lbs clams, scrubbed
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme Rosé wine
Place a pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and shallots. Sauté until the shallots are translucent, and then add the chorizo, clams and fresh thyme. Add a healthy glug of rosé wine and close the lid of the pot. Steam for two to three minutes or until the clams are open. Discard any clams that do not open. Enjoy with your favourite rosé wine. Four to six servings.
Salmon ‘En Papillote’
• 2 oranges, juiced and zested
• 2 limes, juiced and zested
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 3 chipotles in adobe, finely
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• 6 5-oz salmon fillets
• 6 pieces aluminum foil (approx. 12x12”)
• 6 pieces parchment paper (approx. 11x11”)
• Pinch salt
• Pinch pepper, freshly cracked
• 12 lime wheels
Place the orange juice, orange zest and honey in a pot. Reduce the liquid over medium heat until it is syrup-like. Cool. Combine lime zest, lime juice, chipotle, garlic, oregano, cilantro and cumin seeds into a non-reactive bowl. Add the cooled orange honey mixture and mix. Add olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix. Submerge salmon fillets in the marinade. Marinate covered for 30 minutes. Lay out sheets of foil. Top each with piece of parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over the sheets. Add the marinated salmon and top with each piece of fish with a teaspoon of marinade. Season with salt and pepper and top with two lime wheels. Fold in the sides of the foil square to seal. Fold over the remaining two sides and roll down, then pull up a little to create a tent where the steam can circulate. Place in an oven pre-heated to 400 ºF for six to eight minutes. Remove and allow to rest for three minutes before serving. Serves six.