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ROSÉ WINES: A Perfect Pairing for the Thanksgiving Table:
by Bob Ecker, November 16, 2016
Thanksgiving is almost here and you’ll need to select wines that complement your festive holiday meal. This year think pink. Rosé, yes rosé wines are perfect wines to try with turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and all the other trimmings.
Today’s winemakers, particularly in California and beyond are exerting serious effort into producing refined, dry and semi-dry wines that bear little resemblance to the insipid “blush” rosé wines of yesteryear. These are some mighty fine wines and pair superbly with the Thanksgiving dinner. Rosés are hot – and are one of the fastest growing wine trends around.
Rosé wines are made from numerous grapes including: Pinot Noir, Rhone varietals like Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsaut, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are even some rosés produced from hearty Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes on the market.
Most of today’s rosés exhibit proper balance along with ample amounts of acid and are meant to be paired with food. No matter what grapes or exact blend, rosés should be fresh, aromatic, slightly fruity, colorful and acidic with moderate alcohol levels. Almost every rosé begins with a strawberry nose, and then leans toward some combo of citrus, raspberry, almond and violet. Rosés are also pretty wines on the table and offer a wide variety of colors. Some are like budding pink tulips and others look like the last rays of a beautiful sunset. Some rosés appear in stunning salmon while others lean toward a pale garnet or coppery red. And some rosés really do look like strawberry soda.
Julien Fayard, a Napa winemaker who grew up in Provencal town of Toulon knows all about rosés. “Dry Rosé is a gastronomical wine. It’s a perfect pairing for Thanksgiving as it is a refreshing contrast to the warm, rich and heavy dishes. Rosé is a palate cleanser and an extremely versatile wine that pairs with a mosaic of flavors on the table.”
Here are some excellent rosés of note – try one with your holiday feast.
• Sonoma’s Martin Ray Winery produces a lovely Rosé of Pinot Noir. This gorgeous wine has such a gorgeous pale strawberry color that goes along with its stunning nose and elegant finish.
• The rosé from Lake County’s Jelly Jar Wines is a delectable, off dry medium bodied wine. Wow, what a satisfying wine – pale garnet colored made from organically grown old-vine zinfandel grapes, this wine pair perfectly with turkey, fresh yams, pumpkin pie and other elements of Turkey Day.
• Chateau Gassier from France produces an attractive Rhone style rosé made up of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsaut. This very pleasing wine will pair beautifully with turkey.
• Matrix Winery from Santa Rosa is another wonderful Pinot Noir based rosé. It exhibits slightly peachy notes with an adorable pinkish hue.
• Julien Fayard’s label, Azurwines of Napa produces a serious rosé you have to try. Palest pink with a grapefruity nose and plenty of nuance. This wine will get noticed by your guests. An exceptional wine
• On the Sparkling side, Gloria Ferrer Winery offers a unique bubbly made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. It’s a bold wine with hints of watermelon, strawberry and even cherry. This sparkler deserves attention.
• Menage a Trois delivers a superb rosé, a bit sweeter than some but eminently well-adjusted. This thirst quenching rosé will be a hit at any holiday table.
• The Sobon Estate ReZerve rosé, from Amador County is a soft and elegant Rhone style blend, with cherry/berry notes and a long finish. It will pairs with turkey and apple pie.
• Last but not least try the Chacewater, produced in Lake County. This organic rosé bursts with flavor and sort of looks like a cherry lifesaver in the glass.
Like any wine, give each bottle a little time to open up before serving. Think pink this Thanksgiving – the pairing of rosés with your holiday meal may surprise you.
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c. Bob Ecker 2016