Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…

“Anyone who starts analyzing the taste of a rosé in public should be thrown into the pool immediately.” – Jay McInerney

Call it Patio Wine, Summer Sipper, vin gris, or blanc de noir.  We often unfairly dismiss rosé as insipid, cloyingly-sweet or unsophisticated. And in the hands of the work winemaker, it can be!  Yet, in Europe, rosé has long been the quintessential wine for the days when the mercury rises.  Lady Wife and I have spent many a Summer afternoon in Provence and Umbria, listening to the drone of bees and cicadas as we lingered over lunch with a bottle (or three) of crisp, chilled rosé.  But only in the last decade have the “respectable” rosés made their way to the United States.

While there ARE many bad rosés — manufactured industrially to create precisely the right shade of pink and just the right fruit aromas, with maybe a little sweetness for the soft-drink lovers — good rosés abound, too. These are likely to be bone dry, though not always. They will be balanced with aromas, flavors and colors arrived at naturally, without manipulation on the assembly line.

So for our June culinary society event, I decided on the theme of 50 Shades of Rosé.  While there won’t be 50, there will be about a dozen featured, representing the varietals of pinot noir, merlot, grenache, malbec, sangiovese, carignano, cinsault and syrah.  It really is the perfect wine for Summer.  With flavors and aromas of grapefruit, strawberry, blackberry, mint and honeysuckle, the wine is perfect for the lighter fare that comes with the hot weather.  And as most are between 8-11% ABV, they are lighter on the alcohol content as well.

Rather than a multi-course seated dinner, we’re going to do tasting stations, where the wines will be paired with various foods.  More of a mix-and-mingle informal event suitable for the season.  The menu will include:

Selection of
 French Cheeses
Fruit de Mer Display
Mini Croque Monsieur
Cured Salmon & Dill Yogurt on Cucumber
Beef and Blue Cheese Crostini
Beet Tartare & Goat Cheese on Endive
Duck Confit,  & Pickled Onions on Crostini
Potato Gruyere and Brie Croquettes
Selection of Bite-Size French Pastry

I love planning the Summer events, because they are so simple.  July will be our Picnic en Blanc for Bastille Day, and August’s event is Champagne & Caviar.  I love the elegance of the White Picnic.  People put such thought into their table setting, menus and decorations.  We provide welcoming Champagne and hors d’oeuvres, and the participants do all the rest.  We award prizes for the best menu, most elegant table, etc.  Late July also has a d’Arenberg wine tasting which requires zero effort on my part, other than sending out the invitation to the membership.






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May 21, 2018

oddly wine has never been a fetish of mine. My husband is more like that but I just can’t understand spending a thousand on a bottle of wine that lasts one night. I would rather donate the money to help the homeless but that is just me

May 21, 2018

@kaliko I think anyone who spends $1,000 (or more!) on a bottle of wine needs their head examined.  There are lovely wines that are $20 or less, and on the special occasion I am willing to go to $250-300, but beyond that the law of diminishing returns kicks in.  Unless the $1,000 bottle provides 4 times the pleasure of the $250 bottle, why not have 4 bottles of the lower-priced wine?

May 21, 2018

@bedlamhillfarm I tend to agree but many of my friends spend 1000 a bottle and I simply cannot tell the difference but for them money is not an issue and they seem to be able to tell.


May 21, 2018

@kaliko Oh, you would be surprised!  We have attended many blind tasting events where the “experts” couldn’t tell a $50 bottle from a $2,000 bottle when all you have is a glass of wine in front of you.

May 21, 2018

@bedlamhillfarm I agree but when you make 7 figures a year they can blow it on wine if you want lol

May 21, 2018

I have realized that cost doesn’t really matter it’s what you like to drink.  Me on the other hand is a cheap drunk so cost doesn’t matter for me.

May 21, 2018

I love rosé. Drinking it right now. You inspire me to write about my time at a vineyard right outside Aix. I stayed when the owner had just bought the estate in the early 90’s. Now you can find the wine in Oregon!