There’s something about rosé that makes us want to celebrate—perhaps because its appearance on menus and in wine shops signals time for sunnies, sundresses, and garden parties (or really any summer party). You definitely don’t need a refined palate to appreciate pink wines, but foodies love how they offer a diverse range of flavor profiles, from strawberry and green bell pepper to the umami flavors of smoked meats.
Though the jury is still out on just how cold to serve it—some say lightly chilled and others recommend ice-cold—there are definitely some pointers for how to choose a rosé. First, pick the intensity: light (dry with flavors of grapefruit, strawberry, and cherry), medium (dominant flavors of raspberry, tart strawberry, and blood orange), or dark (deep flavors of blackberry and blackcurrant).
When it comes to pairing, select one from a similar region to the type of food you’re eating. In general, light fare calls for a more acidic wine, while fatty meat dishes call for robust, flavorful pours. “Like food, it’s also nice to be able to drink local whenever possible," recommends sommelier and wine educator Kaycee Salmacia. Here are a few of our favorite “pink wine” and food combos:
The Pink Wine: G.H. Mumm Le Rosé - Champagne, France. With aromas of grapefruit, fresh fruit, and vanilla, this salmon-hued sparkler boasts flavors of fresh strawberries, cherry, and red currant, with a clean finish. Pinot Noir is the dominant grape, with a smaller percentage of Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay rounding out the blend.
The Recipe Pairing: Smoked Salmon with Capers, Radishes, and Cucumber, and Whole Wheat Toast
The Pink Wine: Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rosé - Provence, France. With a nose of raspberry, blackberry, and pink grapefruit and a flavor of summery fruits, this classic rosé is wonderful on its own, and pairs well with almost any dish.
The Recipe Pairing: Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad and Pistachios
The Pink Wine: Rosé de Vallée La Kiuva - Arnad, Italy. Made from Nebbiolo grapes in the Northern part of Italy, this full-bodied rosé has notes of strawberry and raspberry, and a robust flavor that goes nicely with salty meats and cheeses.
The Recipe Pairing: Meat and Cheese plate with cured meats and Italian cheeses such as La Tur, Piave Vecchio, Olli Salame Norcino, and La Quercia Prosciutto Piccante
The Pink Wine: El Coto de Rioja Rosado - Rioja Alavesa, Spain. This bright wine with sour cherry, dark fruit, and strawberry flavors is complemented by an herbaceous, crisp finish. A 50-50 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes, it sips well on its own or with flavorful food.
The Recipe Pairing: Seafood and Chicken Paella with Saffron, Fresh Green Peas, and topped with Fresh Parsley
The Pink Wine: Nicolas Feuillatte D’Luscious Demi-Sec Rosé - Champagne, France. This rosy-coral rosé champagne mixes fruity aromas like peach and apricot with flavors of tart cherry, raspberry, and blueberry, with a bright,herbal finish. The D’Luscious is a blend of Pinot Noir, the dominant grape, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
The Recipe Pairing: Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Red Cherries
—Emily Arden Wells
Emily Arden Wells is an architect and the founding writer behind cocktail, food, and art website Gastronomista.