You Had Me at Rosé

by Jenny Benzie, Advanced Sommelier + Certified Wine Educator, Proprietress of Épernay Wine & Spirits

Drinking rosé has become all the craze. “Rosé all day” and “Yes way rosé” are just a couple of this summer’s pink drinking ad campaigns. While children wait in line for their special treat at The Juice Bar, their parents are making a quick stop at their favorite wine store to pick up more pink juice to enjoy. The usual rosé suspects never seem to fail vintage to vintage, but there are a lot more options out there just waiting to be discovered. Venture off the usual rosé wine route, just as you would the sandy back roads of Nantucket, and you will be pleasantly surprised by what you might discover.

IBY Blaufrankisch, Mittelburgenland, Austria 2016… Pronounced ee-bee, this small family-owned winery from Austria is located in the center of the Mittelburgenland wine region about an hour south of Vienna. This area is known more for its racy red wines made from the Blaufrankisch grape rather than the more commonly known white wines of the country. The winery IBY lies in the middle of the town Horitschon, where they make wine from only red varieties.

Anton Iby V is the 5th generation leader of his family’s wine business. The wine is made organically following industry standards of bio-cultivation with no pesticides or chemical usage. This rosé has a bright and vibrant cranberry red color. The nose is very aromatic, like a fresh bouquet of wild strawberries and raspberries. The palate is absolutely dry, showcasing delicate acidity and elegant freshness. There is a slight spiciness to the wine, along with just a hint of spritz, that makes it lively and lengthy on the finish. A convenient screw-top closure makes this a great accompaniment to your smoked salmon for brunch. Iconic Wine ‘Secret Identity’ Rosé, California 2016… Who doesn’t want to try a wine that makes them feel like they have their very own super powers? For a superheroic wine, look no further than Iconic Cellars “Secret Identity” Rosé. The name of the wine comes from the idea of making the best dry rosé possible while not being trapped by traditions of production or grape varieties as in some Old World winemaking regions.

Winemaker Birk O’Halloran, born and raised in The Golden State, makes this wine by combining a long time love of comics with his lengthy experience in the wine industry. This ideal summer rosé is a blend of Zinfandel and Syrah. Not only is it crisp and refreshing, it is slightly lower in alcohol than most rosés making it super approachable to drink a lot on the beach. The really cool label depicting a vixenlike cape crusader reminds you that wine should be fun. This wine comes in a tall slender bottle (keep in mind when stocking your fridge with this one) with a screwtop closure for easy access.

Masseria Li Veli ‘Primerose’ Salento IGT, Italy 2016… Located in the Apulia region of Southern Italy, Masseria Li Veli is a model cellar built on the ruins of a late medieval structure. The estate is situated just outside Cellino San Marco, half way between Brindisi and Lecce, in the Salento region, also known as the heel of Italy, between the Ionic and Adriatic sea. In 1999, the Falvo family (proprietors of Avignonesi in Tuscany) purchased and renovated the property to give birth to a quality benchmark of winegrowing and winemaking in this ancient wine producing region. This rosé wine is made from the local grape Negroamaro. Dark raspberry in color, the nose is mildly fragrant with ripe plums and dark berries. The minerality found on the palate is greatly influenced by the maritime climate of the region, along with the limestone rock found in the clay soil where the vineyard is located. The wine is made completely in stainless steel vats to create a savory wine with fresh acidity, light minerality and a concentrated fruity aftertaste.

Château Henri Bonnaud ‘Terre Promise’ Côtes de Provence 2016… For those of you who aren’t quite brave enough to veer too far off your rosé course, here is a lovely wine that should be your guide to stretch a little further in your Côtes de Provence rosé repertoire. Stéphane Spitzglous represents the third generation of this grape growing family. He wanted to not only make his own wine, but also to build a chateau in which he named in honor of his grandfather. The vineyard is located near the village of Aixen- Provence in southeastern France at the foot of the famous Saint-Victoire Mountain, hence the Côtes de Provence sub-appellation found on the label. This is the area where the famous artist Paul Cézanne was born and returned numerous times in order to paint the scenes he knew and loved from his childhood.

This wine is grown and produced organically to create a delightfully light and refreshing rosé just perfect as an aperitif on a hot summer day. The well-balanced blend of 50% Grenache, 50% Cinsault shows an aromatic profile full of raspberry and orange fruits followed by a zesty finish that will make your lobster roll sing.

No matter where your #roséroadshow takes you this summer, make it an adventure and be sure to drink outside the rosé lines every once in awhile.