Monday 20 November 2017

Katherine Donnelly: Winter Rose is in full bloom

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

In the funny old world we live in, littered with broken rules, I am about to shatter one of my own. I, like most of the population I suspect, have confined my enjoyment of rosé wines to sunny summer days. It comes from the association with holidays in the Med and, for me at least, that first glass.

The anticipation is part of the thrill, and then one sip and I know I have arrived.

At home, the rosé would come out rarely enough, mainly to celebrate a glimpse of the sun. Typically, wine columns such as this would focus on rosé once a year, at the start of summer.

Why restrict the pleasure? Time for thinking outside the box!

There is something comforting about wrapping up with a warming red in the months ahead. But we don't abandon white wines during the winter, so why relegate rosé?

A French winemaker looked at me rather strangely recently when I suggested that it was such a lovely summer drink. "We drink it all year around," I was quickly told.

While it may never develop the complexity of an aged white, rosé is more than a match for a fresh, fruit-driven one. It gets some of the character -- and colour -- of the red skins of the grapes, which are briefly involved in the winemaking process, broadening its versatility as a partner for food.

November is the biggest month for rosé consumption in the US. Why? Thanksgiving. The pink one earns a place at those groaning festive tables by virtue of being able to stand up to all the spiciness of cranberry, pumpkin pie, turkey and all its trimmings, without drowning anything out.

I am not talking here about sweet rosés -- they have their followers, but I am one for the dry, more delicate, onion-skin-tinted rosé from France's Provençe, or perhaps the Loire (although they may not all be so dry). Spain and Italy have some nice offerings too.

The last time I wrote about rosé (you've guessed, it was early summer, 2009) the EU was on the verge of overturning tradition and allowing red and white wines to be blended together to produce rosé. The French, as is their wont, revolted and won the day.

There are some rules that should never be broken!

Irish Independent

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