The Good Life on a Shoestring

Rosé is like that girl in high school with the bad reputation: Everyone seems to think it’s cheap and a bit too sweet, and no man in his right mind would ever want to be seen lingering over a glass of it. And much like that poor girl, pink wine simply doesn’t deserve its bad reputation. So it’s time to set the story straight.

In this age of grape snobbery, few wines are as maligned as White Zinfandel. And, to be perfectly honest, it’s actually somewhat justified. It’s not that it’s all that bad, but much like crack, people tend to get addicted to it as soon as they try it. And for most of us, it was the first wine we ever tried.

This first impression of the pink stuff has stuck, and we assume that all rosé is White Zinfandel.

This is just not true.

Real rosé is not sweet at all-in fact, it’s more often than not bone-dry. The best of them perfectly balance the acidity of white wine with the fullness and fruitiness of a red. And because the alcohol is generally on the low side, it’s the perfect drink for a hot summer afternoon: It’s refreshing and light, but still weighty enough to pair beautifully with a crab cake or even a burger.

Rosé’s color ranges from watermelon pink to deep raspberry, depending on the grape varieties that were used. A Shiraz rosé will be much darker than one made from Pinot Noir, for example. (Incidentally, rosé is made from red grapes. The juice of all grapes is white; color comes from the skins. So pink wine is made by letting the juice and the skins stay in contact with each other for up to two days after the grapes have been crushed.)

For some reason, drinks, in recent years, have become gender-specific. No self-respecting man would ever order a cosmo, and few of the Gucci-clad Ladies Who Lunch would ever set up shop at Rouge and pair their salads with bottles of Lager. But rosé doesn’t have to fit into either of these two categories, and for any guys out there who think they might want to give it a try, a rosé made from Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon will generally be a deep shade of berry that is certainly “manly” enough to avoid causing any sort of embarrassment.

From Brasserie Perrier to Caribou Café, restaurants all over the city are adding rosés to their wine lists. And with the summer menus at many of Center City’s BYOB’s, few wines will pair as well with as wide a variety of dishes as the pink stuff.

So just like that girl with the bad reputation, rosé may surprise you in ways you never expected. All you have to do is get past the embarrassment and give it a try. The wine, that is. The girl is up to you.

AroundPhilly Staff

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