TSG Tip: The art of sipping rose

The warmer months are upon us, and around here that signals only one thing: it’s rosé season! As we bid adieu to the winter months and embrace the carefree summer days ahead, we know for certain which tipple we’ll be toasting with. We asked Meghan Hardgrove, General Manager and Sommelier at retail wine bar Wine on High in Columbus, Ohio, to share her expertise on sussing out the best bottle for your palate and her recommendations on which bottles to uncork this summer.

You can skip the bottle. “I believe rosé is having the ‘Corona effect,’” Hargrove shares. “When you think of Corona, you think of sunny, warm days relaxing outdoors with friends. That’s exactly what grabbing a bottle of rosé says today.” In that vein, many vineyards have done away with glass bottles that are often prohibited poolside, in parks and at the beach. Instead, they’re using easily packable picnic vessels like cans and juice box-like packages. Even the smaller boxed rosés, often holding two bottles of wine, are perfectly acceptable for a day in the sunshine with a group of friends.

Look for the blush. Do you like your rosé sweeter or more on the dry side? “Typically rosés are dry (not sweet) or fruit-forward (sweeter),” says Hardgrove. “The best way to determine that is to look at the color of the wine.” Does it appear salmon-like or more berry colored?  The lighter in color, the drier it will be. The more vibrant, pink berry tones, the more fruit-driven it will be.

  • For a dry, salmon-colored rosé, try:
    Ame du Vin Rosé from Cotes du Provence ($20 / bottle @ Wine on High)
    Notes and aromas of stone fruit, apricot, white cherry and mango. Dry, crisp and refreshing.
  • For a berry pink rosé, try:
    Maison Nicolas Rosé of Pinot Noir from Southern France  (Excellent value at $10/ bottle @ Wine on High)
    Notes and aromas of morello cherry, red currant with a slight citrus edge.

Still or bubbly? Whether you choose a flat rosé or a sparkling one, is truly a matter of personal taste, Hardgrove says.  The above rules for dryness still apply here, so choose according to occasion, meal accompaniment or preference. If you’re celebrating, you can’t ever go wrong with a sparkling rosé. And pairing with oysters? Bubbly rosé is a no-brainer.

  • For an effervescent rosé, try:
    Chandon Sparkling Brut Rosé from California ($18 / per bottle @ Wine on High)
    Aromas and notes of intense ripe strawberry, juicy watermelon and fresh red cherry fruit.

France is solid, but seek out other regions. Provence is known for creating the most consistent rosés, at a reliable and approachable $13 – $50 price point. But with rosé’s burgeoning popularity, many other regions have been putting out stellar bottles. “Italy bring out the brininess in their wines, making it an excellent choice for seafood,” Hardgrove recommends. “And California is creating rosés that are more full-bodied and expansive.” Hardgrove recommends exploring other regions to discover new taste profiles and to expand your palette.

Seek out expert advice. When debating what to drink next, Hardgrove recommends visiting your local wine shop and asking an employee to assist you. Wine merchants are often exceedingly educated on the vast world of wine. Plus, you’re guaranteed a personalized experience when you shop for wine at a locally owned, boutique wine store vs. a bigger chain or grocery store. “I always ask wine shopkeepers for their opinion on what they’re drinking this week to bring out fresh ideas and explore new trends,” she says. There’s no better way to discover your next favorite bottle.

Dig in! Rosés are dynamic and pair well with a vast variety of food. “You can serve it with grilled meats, seafood, cheese plates and fresh salads,” Hardgrove says. It’s best poured in a white wine glass, but out at a picnic a plastic cup works, too. Just be sure to serve it slightly chilled to enjoy rosé in all its summer awesomeness.  

TSG Tip 261  from Meghan Hardgrove, General Manager and Sommelier at Wine on High in Columbus, Ohio. Wine on High is featured in The Scout Guide Columbus.