Food and Drink 

Pink the new colour of chic

The wine formerly known as rosé is in its element come summertime

"Think pink" is the current summer mantra among West Coast wine drinkers. The movement back to rosé is in its third season and while response to pink wines is better than ever it’s not exactly a sipping frenzy yet.

Anything to do with change in wine takes time, and the acceptance of rosé is one of those movements, like riesling and screwcaps, that’s moving faster in some markets than it is in others.

If you're not sure what the new pink is, think blush wine with some guts. In the "good old days" (I can see my kids' eyes rolling upwards), wine similar in colour to the eye of the partridge was called rosé. However, it would appear the term rosé is now passé with the young crowd, which is why it's best to "think pink."

Eventually, even the most serious wine drinker will turn to pink if the conditions are right. For me, it happened in the south of Spain. The temperature was in the high 30s. There was a warm wind blowing in from the Mediterranean, the tapas were tiny and perfect and the pink wine was ice cold. It was magic.

So what is it that’s holding us back from drinking more rosé in Canada?

I’ve narrowed it down to the endless cold fronts that dampen most springs and early summers on the coast – cool wet days simply aren’t conducive to drinking pink. Rosé that was super-sweet, including most white zinfandels, did not cut it with wine drinkers whose expanding wine palates were leading them toward drier labels and bigger flavours.

But what goes around comes around. Today pink wine, albeit drier and fruitier, is making inroads into local restaurants and wine bars, and lately even the shelves of B.C. Liquor Stores (look for a current end-of-aisle display in most stores). And the warmer the weather the better they sell.

For the record, there are few places rosé is made by simply blending red and white wines – at least legally. Most pink wine begins life as red does, crushed black grapes fermenting on its skins. After a few hours, the skins are removed and fermentation continues a la white wine making. (Hint: served chilled like white wine).

The result is delicate pink wine with just enough flavour and tannin to stand up to a wide array of al fresco summer bites. In fact, just about any cold plate you can think of will work with rosé, not to mention grilled white meats and vegetarian pasta dishes. Your choices are endless.

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