RKS Wine: The Rosé Stereotype: Neutrality in a Battle Zone of Taste

The Rosé stereotype is that it is a summer wine. Rosé is an all-season wine that suits many dishes and is good for sipping in January as it is in July. Think of the comparison to Champagne with someone saying it is a wine for special occasions only. But there is one advantage to Rosé in the summer and that is the heat of summer and red wine are often not great companions unless food is involved. If you are hot and sweaty do you want a glass of Malbec? Rosé has an attraction for red wine drinkers in the summer and white wine drinkers who are not wholly in the red wine camp when they drink Rosé. It is like a neutral country in a war.

British Columbia and Ontario both make quality Rosé. So let’s try one from Sandhill in the Okanagan. It is salmon coloured. As for aromatics watermelon, raspberry, red cherry with a bit of tomato vine. On the palate it has a good grip to it meaning to some degree it has substance and personality unlike so many Rosé wines. On the palate cactus pear, rhubarb and watermelon. It has a moderately long finish. I would venture to say its personality suits wild caught salmon with its stronger and meatier flavour than farm raised salmon. Also a go with field tomato salad with extra Virgin Olive Oil and shredded basil.

It is a blend of 65% Gamay and 35% Merlot.

An example that one of British Columbia’s strengths is its ability to produce world class wines.

(Sandhill 2020 Rosé, British Columbia VQA, $21.95, Sandhill, Kelowna, British Columbia, $21.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 19532, 750 mL, 12.6%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 93/100).

While I have been impressed with Mayhem and Meyer Family Vineyards Rosé from the Okanagan in British Columbia let us not forget that Niagara in Ontario can lift some heavy weights with its Rosé wine. One consistent Ontario winner is Pink Twisted from Flat Rock Cellars in Niagara. A great tasting area at the winery and a great view of the vineyards subject to various micro terroirs that differ by hundreds of feet. Their “specialities” are Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. There is no Pinot Noir in this blend but Gamay, Gewurztraminer and Riesling.

Can I say “mid pinkish” in color meaning not dark pink nor light pink! On the nose watermelon, cherry, strawberry, ruby grapefruit with a nice little twisted bit of tomato sauce and I refer to that good stuff you make with onions, garlic, field tomatoes and rosemary, basil and oregano from your garden with a heavy dash of this Rosé. There is some acidity to the wine most likely due to that tricky Ontario Riesling. But it is under control with the Gewurztraminer and Gamay. The acidity makes it a good match for foods like the tomato sauce I mentioned or a fresh field tomato salad I described above but with some crumbled feta to better match the acidity. My thoughts are that the acidity makes it a better match for acidic foods particularly tomatoes. My thought is that with Ontario Riesling you play with fire and in my camp it is easy to get burnt. However in this case the Gewurtz and Gamay puts harness on the acidity and sharpness of Niagara Riesling. The end result is a good Rosé. Niagara Riesling in my book is out of control with bitterness and excessive tartness but this blend tames if not welcomes the beast!

(Flat Rock Twisted Rosé 2020, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Flat Rock Cellars, Jordan, Ontario, $17.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 39974, 750 mL, 11.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 90/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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