As we move into rosé season … wait, there isn’t really a rosé season. But, as flowers bloom and temperatures soar, the pink drink seems to be the ambassador of patio season, much like pumpkin spice lattes signify autumn.
There are no rules with rosé. Despite the perception (with bottles sporting names like Les Jolies Filles or White Girl Rosé), it’s not just for the ladies. Those bottles, while dainty looking, hold blushing complexity. Rosé is not a specific grape or region, but a genre of wine. Most are blends of grape varietals.
Historians will tell you that rosés were the first type of wines made, but rosé often is less respected and misunderstood. Let’s clear up a big misconception: Unless making rosé Champagne, where a small amount of red wine is added for color to chardonnay grapes, it is not made by mixing white wine and red wine together. Red grapes are crushed and left to macerate with their skins. The longer the time, the darker the rosé.
There are all sorts of ways to enjoy rosé beyond popping the cork. Pace yourself; it’s a long season. National Rosé Day is June 9.
Stick a straw in it, with Martini & Rossi rosé minis. These wee 750 milliliter bottles come in a four-pack, for sharing with pals, or for when you just want a glass. Made from Chardonnay, Glera, Riesling Italico and Nebiollo grapes, the pink sparkler is crisp and fruity, with floral aromas. It finishes with dry, fresh acidity and a hint of black pepper to spice up a sunshiny celebration.
Available at local package stores.
Keep it local with City Winery. Made You Blush started flowing on tap this week. It’s made in-house from gently pressed merlot grapes sourced from Dahlonega’s Kaya Vineyards, and delivers light, crisp hints of watermelon and white cherry. City Winery also has a lighter, slightly sweeter, fruity 404 Rosé on tap and bottled. “I think Georgia has a lot to say as far as the quality of wine it can produce,” said Travis Green, Atlanta’s only winemaker. “We’re excited to have a few more offerings that are truly Georgia-grown and produced from start to finish.”
City Winery. 650 North Ave., Atlanta. 404-946-3791, citywinery.com/atlanta.
Inspired by the light and fruity elements of rosé and the easy drinking of cider, Atlanta’s first craft cidery debuts its Urban Tree Rosé Cider this spring. It’s just sweet enough and just dry enough, balanced by fruity notes of its handpicked Georgia Estate apple base. The floral finish and gentle carbonation is lifted by rosé botanicals. Find the cider at local bars, restaurants, and the cidery’s tasting room and patio.
Urban Tree Cidery. 1465 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-855-5546, urbantreecidery.com.
Take the frozen route. The Canteen, a Midtown micro food hall, makes a slurry out of Bota Box dry rosé, strawberries and a little lime juice. The frosé carries fruity aromas and a zing of acidity with each mouthful.
The Canteen. 75 5th St., Atlanta. thecanteenatl.com.
Chill out with one of Atlanta’s best patio views at Westside’s O-Ku. Available only on the rooftop, their frosé mixture includes rosé, rum and peach nectar, for a delicate adult treat in the form of the slushie we loved as kids.
O-Ku. 1085 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-500-2383, okusushi.com.
You can scoop rosé with Jeni’s Frosé Sorbet from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Created using Peregrine Ranch rosé, this sangria-style frosé sorbet gives a punch of fruit — mostly strawberry, but rosé definitely hits your palate. There’s a little flavor of pear and watermelon, and a tartness from lemon juice and zest. Take a cue from Decatur’s Iberian Pig, which recently served homemade strawberry sorbet and topped it with cava. A scoop of this and a pour-over of anything sparkling would be an easy and delicious treat.
Available at Publix, as well as Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream shops.
Prepare your pool or beach bag with slender Amble + Chase rosé cans. The salmon-hued wine is fruity, bubblegum-like, yet still dry and thirst-quenching. From Provence, the blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grapes finishes bright and juicy.
Decatur Package Store. 1220 Clairmont Road, Decatur. 404-633-5250, decaturpackagestore.com.
When it’s not practical to drink rosé, snack on it. Sugarfina’s Rosé All Day Bears, featuring squishy interiors made from Whispering Angel rosé, had a waiting list last year. These cuties are nonboozy, but still have the tangy, fruity flavor of a refreshing glass of rosé. Sparkling Rosé Bears come dusted with tart crystals for added fizz. Available at Sugarfina stores, Sur La Table and Total Wine.
Sugarfina. 3393 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 470-344-3440, sugarfina.com.
You also can sip it old school from the bottle. At Leon’s Full Service in Decatur, owner Ryan Gallagher has a couple of favorites on his list. Italian Cleto Chirli Brut de Noir Rosé “is one of the best on the planet,” he said. He likes to pair rosé with their housemade Belgian waffle with whipped cream and strawberries. His choice is Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé from Pfalz, Germany. “It’s dry, but has a background of strawberry and honey that tricks senses into thinking it’s sweet.”
Leon’s Full Service. 131 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-687-0500, leonsfullservice.com.
Check out the 2018 AJC Spring Dining Guide: Global Mashup
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