kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


(Dry) rose wines

One of my favorite wines for this time of year is dry rose, especially from France or Spain. These are usually made with the grenache/garnacha grape, and can have a hue ranging from pale to vibrant pink. They are wonderful because they are served chilled and refreshing like a white wine, but have some of the weight, intensity and flavors of a red wine. (And no, I'm not talking about White Zinfandel here, though if you like it, by all means drink it!). Dry roses can have a fresh strawberry flavor, decent acidity, and no residual sugar.

Unfortunately, last night, I had a poor example of a rose... It was a 2005 Fat Ladies Rose Pinotage from South Africa. (Pinotage is a very "savage," rough red wine produced extensively in South Africa--goes well with their game cuisine). Anyway, this one was VERY high in alcohol, and that's about all you tasted and felt--that hot, alcohol burn. NOT very refreshing at all, and we dumped it after a sip (what a waste...)

When shopping for roses, look for the most recent vintage you can find (you will be able to find 2005 for Southern Hemisphere wines, and mostly 2004 for Spain and France). These wines are meant to be drunk young--age turns the pink color to a tawny, peach hue, and the fresh fruit flavor becomes dull and tired.

It is a great choice for Easter ham. If you haven't tried one, get past your prejedice against "pink wines" and buy one!