by Advanced Sommelier Jenny Benzie
Warmer weather on the horizon enables us to be a little more adventurous in our beach exploration. While there are a number of tried and true, easy accessible sand spots that are the regular go-to beaches of Nantucket, the fact that the entire island is surrounded by beach should encourage you to venture off the beaten path as you wish and discover a less inhabited part of the island.
Each beach is able to offer a distinct experience, and the same holds true in making your summer rosé wine selections. Why not make it a perfect pairing for your next beach excursion by exploring these beaches less traveled and the rosé to accompany it?
DYNAMIC DIONIS BEACH
Just off the rolling bike path that leads to Madaket, the leisurely threemile jaunt from town to gain access to this north shore beach will take you down Eel Point Road. The sound of calm, soothing waters awaits you, with a gentle surf that is perfect for wading. The sand is hard-packed, making it ideal for a game of Kan Jam, Pro Kadima or tossing around the football. Here you are also sheltered by the high standing dunes, which are much appreciated on those breezy island days. This easily accessible beach has a moderate size parking area and offers limited facilities for those who feel more at ease knowing there is the comfort of a potty close by. Hint: Look for the large boulder marked “Dionis” to know you are heading in the right direction. There is also a bus stop at Eel Point Road.
What to Pack: Spy Valley Single Estate Rosé, Marlborough, NZ 2017
When most people think of wines from New Zealand, they think of Sauvignon Blanc. A small amount of red wine is also carefully grown in this region, hence making this lovely rosé wine from a blend of mostly Pinot Noir, with small amounts of Syrah and Malbec. Peach and strawberry fruit aromas on the nose, this dry wine is thirst quenching after a long bike ride with grapefruit flavors that complement the nose and a backbone of minerality, perfect for sipping by the water.
LAPPING IN THE WAVES AT LADIES BEACH
For anyone looking for more surf and some great people watching, head over to the south shore ocean beaches along the southwest edge of the island. Drive straight on Bartlett Farm Road. You’ll hit the sand just past the turn off to the farm, then continue directly forward to reach the somewhat secluded Ladies Beach. Here you will enjoy the rugged, natural beauty of the shoreline sans facilities or lifeguards. Parking is limited and it is a little bit of a walk to transport your goods to the sand, but well worth it to spend a long afternoon here. Bring your surfboard and a leash for the dog at this spot, along with a light jacket as it can get cool as you watch the awe inspiring, multi-colored light show of a sunset in the early evening. NOTE: You do not need a driving permit in order to reach this destination, but do be cautious when driving on the sand, especially if your vehicle does not have 4WD.
Cooler Essential: Pasqua “11 Minutes” Rosé delle Venezie, Italy 2017
Famiglia Pasqua has created this fine blend from the most noble native grapes of their region like Corvina and Trebbiano di Lugana, with a touch of Syrah and Carmenère. The name “11 Minutes” refers to the duration of skin contact that adds the pink color before pressing the grapes. Corvina adds a floral component to the wine and much appreciated acidity for a clean, crisp finish. Trebbiano brings elegance and a long aftertaste, while Syrah offers a succulent spiciness and Carmenére provides the overall structure of this mouth-watering wine. It’s such a crowd pleaser, it may only take you 11 minutes to finish the bottle.
QUIET QUIDNET BEACH
If you want to hide away for that secret rendezvous or just avoid seeing anyone you know on your day off, adventure to the less inhabited eastern side of the island. This isolated area offers you the peace, quiet, and serenity that you may be looking for. Located off Quidnet Road and hence the name of the beach, you will continue on Polpis Road past the turn for Wauwinet and take the next left turn. Here you will find fine soft sand between your toes and a perfect area for combing the beach for shells. Be sure to bring a selection of delectable cheeses to enjoy with your lovely wine while enjoying the latest book you picked up from Nantucket Bookworks.
Rosé Respite: Cellar Frisach “L’Abrunet de Frisach Rosato,” Terra Alta, Spain 2017
This certified organic wine is made from a trio of varietals that are somewhat similar based on their parenthood, yet also very different due to their subsequent mutations: Garnacha Gris, Garnacha Blanca, and Garnacha Negra. The single vineyard is located in the Catalonia region of Spain, experiencing hot days in the sun and cool nights from the coastal breeze. The nose and mouth on this wine are both very generous with wild strawberry and red apple skin. The smooth finish will have you salivating for more, just like a good book has you turning to the next page.
TIME OUT IN TOM NEVERS
Named after a Native American Indian who centuries ago was the lookout in this area for whales, Tom Nevers refers to an area located in the southeast corner of the island. This neighborhood is known for being extremely remote and so far out, yet it is where many a glamorous weddings are held, along with the Nantucket Island Fair in the fall. There is a group who would like to establish a museum in the bunker there that was originally built during the Cold War to protect President Kennedy. Public beach access is available from the end of Wanoma Way, or you can park at Tom Nevers Field and walk over to the beach from there. Because there is a bit of a walk, most people are completely unaware of the pristine beach that awaits them away from the crowds. The sand here is coarse and the waves way bigger: be careful of riptides in the ocean. The long stretch of a beach is a much-appreciated serene nature for birding, whale watching, and surf casting.
Take Me with You: Hentley Farm Rosé, Barossa Valley, Australia 2017
This is a rosé made for serious wine drinkers. A traditional Barossa rosé, it is a blend of mostly Grenache (as commonly found in Côtes de Provence rosés) and a touch of Shiraz (aka Syrah). The nose is full of raspberry and red currants, with an attractive creamy texture followed by a dry, crisp finish. An outstanding level of intensity in this wine makes it a homerun for a true rosé connoisseur.
Wherever your beach excursion takes you, always remember to pack out what you pack in. Take an extra trash bag with you and do a little bit of litter reconnaissance work while getting some exercise on your beach walk. Don’t forget the ice to keep your rosé perfectly chilled, along with a pair of shatterproof GoVino wine glasses for easy drinking. Cheers to your next adventure!