by Jenny Benzie, Advanced Sommelier + Certified Wine Educator, Proprietress of Épernay Wine & Spirits
While the calendar may not officially read summer just yet, our minds and spirits on Nantucket are in full summer mode as we enter the transitional month of June that transports us to our summer-loving days here on-island. Rosé wine has become all the rage in the past few years: the bigger the bottle, the more exciting life can be! Here are a handful of rosé alternatives that are quick and easy to drink on the go for just a splash of Nantucket’s favorite sip of summer.
RUZA ROSÉ IN A CAN 2016 (Lodi, California)
RTD. Ready to Drink. This vintage dated rosé wine found in a can is a fresh, modern alternative to the popular Provençal rosés. The grapes that are harvested and used to make Ruza Rosé are “thoughtfully-farmed,” meaning they are grown specifically for rosé wine production. These aren’t just grapes left over from red wine production and not just a blend of red and white grapes together to get the perfect pink color. The grapes are picked early in the harvest season in order to produce a rosé of optimal color, flavor, and acidity. Lots of red fruit on the nose is matched with a dry finish and slight spritz on the palate.
Convenience is key for this fun, fashionable and great quality thirst quencher. Ruza is available in a single serving 250 ml can, which is just over 8 ounces or about 1.5 glasses of wine. This is a perfect sized serving for someone who wants one glass of wine and a little splash more. The slight spritz of effervescence—think Pellegrino, not Prosecco—found in this wine will last longer if consumed straight from the can than if it was poured from a bottle into a glass. Are you a traditionalist that isn’t able to wrap your head around wine not being from a bottle? The can does not affect the taste of the wine in anyway, shape or form. If anything, by making the can your drinking vessel, you cut out the “middle man” and can enjoy your refreshing beverage as soon as you easily open the can. Three cans of Ruza are equal to the same amount of wine that is found in a regular sized 750 ml bottle of wine. Ruza is also sold in a 4-pack box that would give you a quantity of one liter of wine (an amazing value). Best part is your wine will never be corked!
CIDERGEIST ‘BUBBLES’ ROSÉ ALE (Cincinatti, OH)
The rosé beer trend has begun. Made by Rheingeist Brewery from Cincinatti, a craft beer and cider specialist, this tantalizes your palate with a wave of tart, juicy fruitiness with the Cidergeist ‘Bubbles’ Rosé Ale. The brewery is located in the historic Over-the-Rhine Brewery district in Cincinatti, where the city was originally inhabited by a large number of German immigrants (hence the brewing background).
“Bubbles” Rosé Ale is made with apple, peach, and cranberry, which the latter ingredient adds to the lovely pink hue, creating a tart, juicy fruitiness that makes it like no other brew. Bubbles is an ale product (more like a beer) that contains malt, so this is not a gluten-free option. It is drier and lighter than traditional beer and more similar to white (or rosé) wine production with a blend of acidity and bountiful aromatics. Great news is that it is available as year-round, not just a seasonal sensation. It is served in a single-serving can and easily portable just like a 6-pack of beer would be. This rosé ale alternative is a testament that real men do drink pink.
WOLFFER NO. 139 DRY ROSÉ CIDER (Long Island, NY)
Summer in a Bottle – Part Deux. Wolffer Estate Winery, located in the Hamptons on Long Island, is owned and managed by two siblings who are the children of the original owner, along with their winemaker/partner. This American winery with a classic European character has taken their successful wine and lifestyle brand to create a delicious cider made exclusively from apples grown in New York State. The ‘NO. 139’ name for their cider brand comes from the number of their address in the Hamptons.
This well-crafted, unique hard cider is the real deal, made with real juice and nothing artificial. While the Dry Rosé is clear with a shiny, pale rose color that comes from the addition of red grape skin contact, it has hints of honeysuckle and fine yeast aromas with a hint of strawberries. This elegant, premium sparkling dry rosé cider is sold as individual 355ml bottles. Three bottles of this refreshing quaff amounts to just over 1 liter of juice, where a four-pack is just under 1.5L. A case would be 6-4 packs, making it 24 bottles, offering much more than a case of beer in the same quantities. Take note that this rosé alternative is a gluten-free option.
NANTUCKET VINEYARD CRANBERRY PINOT GRIS (American)
Drink local, if you can get it. The popularity of Nantucket Vineyard’s Cranberry Pinot Gris drives this beauty out-of-stock more often than any of us would like. From corporate jetsetters and yacht owners to weekend bachelorette party-goers and lots of Nantucket lovers in between, this delicious cranberry wine concoction is the perfect alternative to the person who says they don’t like rosé wine. The grapes for this wine come from the West Coast and are brought to Nantucket in order to blend with our local cranberries. The resulting product is fun, festive, and a local taste of home. No need for a corkscrew as this 750 ml bottle is topped with a crown-cap, just like you would find on an old-style Coca-Cola bottle. The newest bottling was just released, so be sure to stock your cooler now and stash some away for enjoyment all summer long.
No matter what your rosé preference is for your summer drinking pleasure, cheers to these easy-drinking rosé alternatives that are sure to please your palate, even if it comes from a can.