Inspiration / Food & Wine

La Vie En Rosé - Summer Rosé and Food Matching


Steve Farrow Steve Farrow

In a sip

Big, bold rosés

love succulent lamb, steak and chimichurri smothered BBQ-charred veg.

Deep pink fresh & fruity rosés

love curry and scintillatingly spicy Asian dishes.

Mouthwateringly dry rosés

love cheese. Try with salty hams and antipasto too for a picnic to be proud of.

Drink where? Beach, barbecue, picnics, poolside - rosés are real people-pleasers, versatile food wines and surprisingly elegant. Perfect for confounding the wine snob in your life.

Rosé - the perfect summer food hero

Steve Farrow discovers why you should be reimagining rosé as the perfect summer food hero.

A succulent glass of pink always brings to mind terraces of whitewashed villas set against sun-baked hills, maybe in Provence or near the glittering Med. In this rosé-induced dream the scent of lavender fills the air, even if in reality I'm just sitting on a deckchair in a back garden in downtown Darlington...

Of course, now really is the time to begin extolling the many virtues of rosé wines; the sun has started to shine in earnest, following the Arctic winds of April and early May. And rosé is the heaven-sent embodiment of 'summer in a glass'. Is there a greater sunny-day pleasure than sitting outside wearing loose cotton clobber, fanning oneself with a fedora while sipping a chilled glass of crisp, scented pink? I dare you to think of one.

Here I round up some of the best summer food matching recommendations for this super-versatile wine.

Summer Rosé and Food Matching

Big, robust rosés

Big, robust rosés

To start let's take some of the more robust rosé wines, such as a dark, spicy Tavel from the Rhône or a fully flavoursome Brindisi Rosato from Puglia that are both about as lightweight as Charles Bronson. Both will make themselves very much at home with those dishes where lighter, juicy reds might be the norm, such as lamb chops or a butterflied leg, and will sit happily alongside roast pork joints or chops, the creamy crisped fat of which welcome the zest and fruit of a rosé. I've even enjoyed a deeply fruity rosé from Bandol with a steak from the BBQ, the pink meat covered with a spicy chimichurri sauce of finely chopped parsley, garlic, dried chilli flakes oregano. Is not choosing a red wine with beautifully cooked steak a heresy? Because it didn't taste like heresy. Try it immediately.

Fresh and fruity rosés

Fresh and fruity rosés

Deeply pink wines with bags of fruit and freshness but unobtrusive tannins, like those mentioned above but also from Languedoc, Navarra, northern Italy and the New World are perfect with curry, particularly if there is hint of sweetness in the wine too, such as in a Rosé d'Anjou.

We may not be talking vindaloo as a recommendation here, but the palate refreshing qualities of a good rosé can come up trumps with spice just as beer does, sometimes better because of the fruitiness of the wine.

Mouthwateringly Dry rosés

Fresh and fruity rosés

Salty hams and charcuterie are very good indeed with dry rosé, especially gammon, salami, paté, terrines and rillettes. It will also paso doble nicely with a selection of Spanish tapas, particularly for those who can't quite get their head around the nutty tongue-tingling delights of a fino or manzanilla as the traditional accompaniment. Try one from Muga for a degree of authenticity, but many others are great too.

Another surprising partner for rosé is a cheeseboard. Lots of people will automatically reach for a bottle of red for their cheeses, or perhaps a port of ruby or tawny hue, and some will fancy a white as a good all-rounder, but rosé can do a terrific job. If both fruity and fresh it has the chutzpah to stand shoulder to shoulder with salty tangy cheddar, the lightness of touch to balance the brie or other such white bloomed softies, the zing to sing with a tangy goat cheese, and in the riper styles the sweetness of fruit not to get completely lost in the salty, pungent bear hug of a blue.

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