rouge, blanc, et rose

by jemma margaret

Hello, it’s past 18h Paris time, so you can bet your bottom dollar (or your top euro?) that I have a glass of wine at hand. I should always set my drinking clock by Paris time…good morning Napa Valley!

The oh so gradually getting warmer weather has kicked me out of my potential chocolat chaud spiral and into a much healthier (?) rosé spiral. The rosé spiral is practically inescapable since most of my drinking and eating is of leftovers and the running out of wine does not necessarily coincide with the running out of food. That is to say, a light meal and a sunny day will lead me toward the pink section of the wine shelves and then a third of a bottle of rosé will convince me to make “un chiffonnade de jambon cru et melon, des filets de rougets à la provençale, des macarons aux fraises et leur sorbet mandarine” or perhaps “une anchoïade, une épaule d’agneau au romarin et toute la cuisine provençale” (that last one was quite a big meal, and all those people in Provence are a bit hungry now).

Reading those pairings is one of the reasons why rosés have found a special place near my heart (in my stomach). It may be a reflection of my price point, but most red wines I buy tend to go well with “meat, strong cheeses, and hearty dishes,” probably true but pretty boring. Rosé is also a bit like the white AirHead in that it could be quite a wide ranging variety of varietals. I am currently enjoying a Bô Rivage Bandol that is 90% Mourvèdre, 5% Grenache, 5% Cinsault, but last night’s Cabernet d’Anjou from Plessis-Duval gave no indication of its contents (it tasted like juice!).

Before I go further into rosé worship, I must confess. I am not very enthusiastic about white wine. This is not to say that I will not drink white wine, or that I have never enjoyed it. However, I can only bring to mind a single memorable bottle, which is actually due almost entirely to the amazing cheese it was paired with. The fact is, white wine is not very much like red wine and if I am in the mood for the qualities of white wine I would probably prefer a beer. Hence, I only order white wine under one of two conditions:

1. the person I am drinking with knows more about wine than me

2. the person I am drinking with prefers white wine and is paying

Several years ago, but not so many that I should have known better, I faced a rather awkward situation in which neither conditions held, but one of my three dining companions was strongly opposed to red wine (can you imagine? quelle horreur!). After a tense stand-off we settled on…rosé! I don’t know anyone who is opposed to rosé on principle. In fact, someone who knows drinks quite well advises that rosé champagne pairs well with everything.

Last summer I fell in love with Vino Verde Rosado from Portugal. It’s like juice squeeze for grown-ups and I will most definitely be buying a case upon returning to New York. Until then, I welcome any and all suggestions of pink French wines on the lower end of the price range. Preferably ones to accompany the strawberries that will (please! please! please!) be coming to market soon (or growing in my windowsill, but I have great pessimism where that is concerned).