Monday, February 16, 2015



AUG-SEPT 2014 

At a private beach club in Ramatuelle, under the shade of pine, feet nestled into soft Provencal sand, I learned about wine in the best possible way. I observed a pack of playboys moving in on a bevy of beautiful women who were busy nibbling on seafood and sipping rosé. Nothing unusual here, or was there? Hmm. Wait a minute. The men were drinking pink too. As it turns out, everyone, including the pale, plump, far too scantily clad Northern Europeans, was in on the game. It was just what you drank. Then you took a nap.
What a great lesson that was, back in the Côte d'Azur. It made me realize that the French really didn’t know so much more about wine then us. They simply drank what everyone else did when everyone else did. It was summer, it was hot, and you drank rosé.
While coral was the color of most wines during Greek and Roman times, Provincia Romana, or today’s Provence, is still considered the rosé center of the world. Early Bordeaux, or Clairet, was pink and so was early Californian wine. But it wasn’t until a stuck fermentation that inspired the semi-sweet rosé of Zinfandel at Sutter Home did this pale beauty get its bad rap.
These days pink wine is taken much more seriously, especially when pressed directly after skin contact. Other production methods include saignee, or bleeding the tank, and blending white and red grapes, which is allowed and used in Champagne.
Rosé wines are still to fully sparkling, bone dry to decadently sweet, and are produced all over the world. From light, tart Provencal rosés to full-bodied, varietally-expressive New World choices, it may be time to think about expanding pink wine options beyond the warm summer months. In particular, Rosé Champagnes pair surprisingly well with meaty main courses such as lamb or duck breast.
Ken Kobré, Professor of Photojournalism at San Francisco State University, and creator of, is releasing a documentary later this year, called Rosé Rising. During the filming, I came across several rosés worth noting. Here they are, in categories created for easy placement on your menu. Some are easier to find than others, but they are all worth seeking out.

2012 The Seeker Rosé Cotes de Provence $16
2013 Chateau Routas Rosé Coteaux Varois en Provence $16
2013 Chateau Minuty M de Minuty Cotes de Provence $20
2013 Chateau d’Aqueria Rosé Tavel $20
2013 Fox Run Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir Finger Lakes New York $15
2013 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare Central Coast California $18           
2013 MacPhail Rose of Pinot Noir Sonoma County $22
2013 Hess Collection Small Block Series Syrah Rosé $22

Soft and Fruity
2013 Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone Rosé $15
2012 Argus Rosato Napa Valley $18
2013 Everett Ridge Rosé Dry Creek Valley $18
2013 J Vineyards Vin Gris Russian River Valley $20

Softly Sweet Sparkling
Ca’Rosa Frizzante by Ca’Momi California $12
Fizz56 Brachetto Spumante Piedmont $20

Light Dry Sparkling
Lamberti Rosé Spumante Veneto $14
Bellenda Rosé Spumante Brut Veneto $16

Rich Dry Sparkling
2010 Schramsberg Brut Rosé North Coast $43
Domaine Carneros Cuvee de la Pompadour Brut Rosé Napa Valley $38
Domaine Chandon Etoile Brut Rosé Napa & Sonoma $50
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé $48
Champagne Pierre Moncuit Brut Rosé Grand Cru $50
Champagne Taittinger Prestige Brut Rosé $80
Champagne Vilmart Cuvee Rubis Brut Rosé 1er Cru $85

Luxury Dry Sparkling
Champagne Krug Brut Rosé $380

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