When the great Persian poet Omar Khayyám wrote this love-struck verse in the Rubáiyát, he clearly was thinking of rosé wine:
“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough / A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou / Beside me singing in the Wilderness — / Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”
Or if he wasn’t, he should have been.
Rosé, in fact, is the perfect outdoor-on-the-grass wine, and romantic to boot. For starters, it’s pretty. Their colors range from light pink to red grapefruit to fuchsia to onion skin to pale orange to vivid wild salmon.
Sniff them and you’ll detect tart cherries, red raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, lemon zest, guava, watermelon, minerals. Rosés, being somewhere between white wine and red wine, naturally go well with a wide variety of foods.
You can serve them with bread and cheese, as noted above, or fruit salad, Greek salad, potato salad, all kinds of pasta, sandwiches, grilled shrimp, cold fried chicken.
Oh, and pig. The Hogwash Rosé recommended here came about when California winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer was asked to create a wine to go with a whole hog at a pig roast.
Rosés are wines to drink for sheer pleasure rather than profound contemplation. To sip and swallow, not slosh and spit.
Some are lightly sweet. The best are crisp, tart, almost steely, with gobs of fruit flavors, especially refreshing when served slightly chilled, almost like white wines.
FRED’S WINE LIST
- 2008 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne, Champagne (66 percent pinot noir, 34 percent chardonnay): myriad active tiny bubbles, crisp acids, tart raspberry and citrus flavors, hint of minerals; $79.
- 2013 Lange Twins Sangiovese Rosé, Lodi: light, crisp and intense, with pure, unadorned strawberry flavors and a tart finish; $15.
- 2013 Inman Family Wines “Endless Crush” Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley: crisp and dry, with aromas and flavors of strawberries and tropical fruits and a hint of minerals; $25.
- 2009 Schramsberg Brut Rosé, North Coast (70 percent pinot noir, 30 percent chardonnay): lively bubbles, rich and slightly sweet, with aromas and flavors of peaches, strawberries and tropical fruits; $43.
- 2013 Hogwash Rosé, by Tuck Beckstoffer, Calif. (grenache): very dry and crisp, with aromas and flavors of tart cherries, citrus and minerals; $16.
- 2013 Las Rocas Rosé, Calatayud, Spain (garnacha): dry, full-bodied and rich, with aromas and flavors of red raspberries, tart cherries and spice, $14.