Rosé: A Versatile Choice in the Glass or On the Table

Benmarl WInery bottles of Rosé

A perfectly chilled glass of dry, crisp rosé wine invokes dreams of quintessential spring days and steamy summer nights. The refreshing acidity balanced with fresh fruit flavors is what makes many rosés stellar thirst quenchers for sipping by the pool, picnicking at the park or soaking in the sunset. The primary flavors of rosé wine are red fruit, flowers, citrus and melon, with a pleasant crunchy flavor on the finish, similar to endive or rhubarb. Of course, the type of grape the rosé wine is produced from will greatly vary the flavor. For example, the Italian Nebiollo or Aglianico may offer up dark cherry and orange zest flavors, while a Provence rosé made from Grenache can taste of honeydew melon, lemon and fresh berries. The time that the juice spends on the grape skins also contributes to color and flavor. Sometimes a bit of red wine may be blended with a still white wine to create a pink style. This method is more common in the U.S. than in Europe, except in the production of pink Champagne.

In the Hudson Valley, many vineyards are creating delicious dry styles of rosé from a range of grapes, and pairing these wines with food is a palate-pleasing experience. Rosé is a delicious alternative to red or white, and not just for summer anymore. Whether you try one of the suggestions below or simply sip it on a lazy summer night, rosé is a fabulous choice for year-round enjoyment.

Cheese Pairings

Mild, creamy goat cheeses or semi-soft meltable styles like Casa Del Caciocavallo (hand-rolled in Gardiner) work best with fruit forward rosés. Adding a savory jam adds interest and flavor. Try Eleanor’s Best Hot Pepper or Sweet Onion jam, and serve with a variety of fresh-baked breads, eggplant tapenade, and fresh greens in herb vinaigrette for an easy summer supper.

Old World Classics

Cuisine made with lots of black olive, garlic, and olive oil is a traditional pairing in Provence, a region renowned for their rosés. Grilled sardines, cold shrimp dishes and chilled lobster are also a favorite. Check out the selection of fresh seafood at Gadaleto’s Seafood Market & Restaurant in New Paltz for take-out or to make at home to pair with a crisp Hudson Valley rosé.

Cured Meat Mania

There is nothing more delicious than silky prosciutto, spicy salumi or air-dried bresaola with crusty breads and a glass of rosé. Jacüterie in Ancramdale prepares some of the tastiest European-style charcuterie around, using pork from their pasture-raised pigs. Stop by their farm stand to score a few of these artisan treasures.

All-American

Nothing goes better with BBQ chicken, pulled pork or smoked pastrami than a glass of chilled rosé. Fazio Farms in Modena is a destination for any of these flavorful dishes. Grab them to go — they’re perfect to pack for a picnic at one of the Hudson Valley’s picturesque wineries.

Wines to Try

Benmarl Winery has two rosé wines on offer this season: their popular Marlboro Village Blush, and the mouthwatering Benmarl Dry Rosé made from a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The dry style has notes of fresh bing cherry, white peach and wild strawberry.

Whitecliff Vineyard has an exciting flight of five rosé wines, including the 2016 Dry Rosé, a bold, coral-colored blend of Cayuga, Vidal and Dechaunac grapes. Another standout is the 2016 Barrel Rosé, a Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc blend. This is a “saignee” rosé fermented and aged in neutral oak to develop a softer, complex mouthfeel. If bubbly rosé is your thing, they offer a wildly popular version on tap in the tasting room.

Millbrook Vineyard’s signature Hunt Country Rosé is a blend of white and red grapes including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This slightly less acidic, rounder style makes it a staple to enjoy in any season.

Brotherhood Winery’s B Rosé cuvee is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes harvested early to preserve their crisp acidity and bright fruit character. The grapes are then fermented a second time which produces its fine bubbles. The result is a sparkling rosé that’s perfect to start your evening with. The slightly sweet taste also pairs well with sushi and Asian cuisine.

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