Featured Wine: 2010 Château d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé
Though you may associate sipping a dry, crisp, stawberry- and lemon-tinged glass of well-chilled rosé in August, on your deck or while sitting at a street-side table at your favorite neighborhood restaurant, skipping rosé during the fall and winter months means you'll be missing out on a whole host of pairing opportunities. (Just think, for instance, how nicely a glass would go with a turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich the day after Thanksgiving...) Rosé has the acidity of a crisp white, with some of the weight and body of a red wine. In other words, it's the perfect bottle to take you through an entire dinner filled with lots of different dishes--all year round.
Last night I attended a wine dinner at Rasika West End organized by the Wines of Provence, who is encouraging wine lovers to reach for rosé all year long. We sampled seven bottles, from really light-bodied ones, to those typical of the style, to complex, oak-aged offerings that could easily stand up to heavier dishes.
One of my favorites was the 2010 Château d'Esclans Whispering Angel. It's a blend of Grenache, Rolle, Syrah, Cinsault and Tibouren, hand harvested from sunrise to noon to avoid oxidation and keep that appealing acidity vibrant and fresh. It's fruity yet restrained, with notes of lemons and strawberries, very balanced, and easy drinking. And at a retail price of $20, you can grab a few bottles and come up with your own perfect matches this season...I'm already thinking about how great it would pair with one of my go-to recipes: Moroccan Lemon Chicken.
(If you can't find the 2010, look for 2011 on store shelves...this winery is pretty widely distributed in the U.S.)