Real Men Drink Pink

Is pink wine just for girls? Is the current craze for rosés just a fad? I don’t think so. Real men (and real women) have been drinking the crisp, dry, bracing Mediterranean rosés for centuries, even millennia. But, for a long time, just a few rosés came into the U.S. and then only in summer. They were dry, surprisingly dry in these United States of White Zin, the famous sweet pink accident that made Sutter Home’s fame—and fortune--in the 1960’s.

What pairs with pink? Now even neighborhood restaurants offer at least one dry rosé, which is good business, since rosé goes with almost anything: appetizers, fried chicken, a perch basket, Caesar salad, an olive burger, a cheese platter. And for the sweet wine drinker, there are still the sweet pink, so-called “blush” wines, like White Zin or Pink Moscato, that pair so well with spicy oriental fare, with fruity summer chicken salads, or with fresh strawberries.

Where does pink wine come from? Though many come from France’s sunny Provence region, rosé now comes from anywhere wine is made. So, pink wine can be sweet to off-dry to super dry, with the full range in between. It can be sparkling or still.  It can range in price from $5 to $50, or higher, for rosé Champagnes. And it can come in any hue, from pale and peachy to a deep bluish pink. There really are 50 Shades of Pink!

How do rosés get pink? Rosés are made from all sorts of grapes…red grapes, that is. Contrary to popular belief, except in the case of rosé Champagne, rosés are not made from blending white and red wine. After crushing, the grape juice gets those lovely shades of pink from being taken left off the skins after only a short period of maceration, anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Then it’s strained from the solid stuff and left to ferment in tanks.

Which rosés should I try? Visit the Wine Steward in your store for a guided tour of rosés. Take home a few. Chill. Open, swirl, sip and smell the rosés. Here are starting recommendations from our whole team of Stewards, Real Men and Real Women of Wine.

Scott Campbell at Breton Village D&W recommends: “Apaltagua Rosé of Carmenère. For as light as it is, this Rosé has a lot to offer: Nice, medium-bodied (deceivingly more body than you'd expect). Slightly tart, but very clean and refreshing raspberry notes. Nice floral aroma.” His customers agree. The proof: “Plus I've sold 220 bottles since March! [That’s nearly 20 cases.]”

Fun Fact: From the Maule Valley in Chile, this is made from Carmenère grapes brought to South America in the 19th century by winemaking French Immigrants. The high elevation of the Maule Valley with its very cool nights accounts for the refreshing acidity of the wine.

Bob Goehring, Gaslight Village Wine Steward, offers his recommendation: Haut Gléon Rosé, a blend of Grenache and Syrah from France’s Languedoc region. Says Bob, “Beautiful package, pretty eye of the partridge color, dusty, dry floral notes. If I had to drink just one rose the rest of the summer, this would be it.”

Fun Fact: This beautiful wine is grown in a region called La Vallé du Paradis and comes in a bottle modelled on an historical model found in the château’s century old store rooms.

Tom McCarthy from Holland’s D&W says: “I recommend Nortico Rosé because of its unique salinity. Great wine to pair with seafood.”

Fun Fact: Portugal is most known for its port wines, but delicious table wines are made from blends of many of the same grapes—all unpronounceable.

Jack Measley, runs the Wine Department in the Cascade D&W. He recommends the Crios Malbec Rosé from Argentina. Here are Jack’s tasting notes: “Deep rose color, lovely notes of wild strawberry and cherry, with a nice soft hint of spice. Clean dry finish. Pair with roasted chicken or roasted veggies and even spicy Asian foods.”

Fun Fact: Crios is made by Susana Balbo, one of the Top Ten Women Winemakers in the World.

David Mulder at the Family Fare on South Washington in Holland recommends: “OTT Rosé de Provence by Domaine Ott.  “It's super delicious.”

Fun Fact: Domaine Ott has long been the face of Provence with its pale, pale peachy pink wine, its vineyards overlook the Mediterranean Sea, lavender fields and olive trees.

George Walker, Grand Haven Wine Steward is transported by:  French Pool Toy Rosé de Provence. “Imagine sitting on the beach listening to the waves brushing against the shore, the hot sun beating down, the sounds of birds singing across the water, and the feeling of a cool, crisp rosé with notes of strawberries that have just reached perfect ripeness, fragrances of the most beautiful roses that have graced your senses and the vibrancy of clean citrus that quenches every thought of desire. This is “The French Pool Toy,” a taste of the South of France.”

Fun Fact: And the plastic bottle bounces if you drop it! Great for boating and picnicking.

Becky Bjorkman who holds down the wine fort in our most northerly D&W, recommends
“Edna Valley Rosé, easy to drink; crisp with a bit of spice that adds a little texture-but smooth finish.”

Fun Fact: The Edna Valley has the longest growing reason in California. Edna Valley Winery’s new rosé is made from Pinot Noir grapes.

Holly Cousineau at our VG’s Store in Fenton says, “My favorite Rosé is the Castello Del Poggio Sweet Rosé. I would recommend it because it is sweet and not dry like some of the other rosés.

Fun Fact: Castillo Del Poggio has been known for its elegant, sweet and effervescent wines since 1706.  Light, bubbly, sweet wines go with spicy, oriental cuisine, as well as light desserts.

Cindy Chambers at Forest Hills Foods says, “I have been drinking Prophecy Rosé with bright floral notes, with ripe raspberry and melon.  Also, it goes well with seafood & chicken dishes, goat cheese salads, and fruit deserts.

Fun Fact: Prophecy is one of a growing number of so-called “world brands,” companies that produce
wines where they grow best in the world.

Pam Koeze, Knapp Crossing Wine Steward suggests Famega Vinho Verde Roseé. “Why I recommend it?  I love the slight effervescence of it. I like that it is dry. It is one of the only wines I will serve with salad. The main reason I love it so is because we were there at the winery and met the woman winemaker. I have turned so many people on to Famega as a whole and it is my best selling item in the department.”

Fun Fact: Pam expands her wine education with an annual trip to a great old world wine region.

Cortney Powell, Williamston Wine Steward, jumped in with her favorite the minute I sent out the request. “Fleur de Mer. I would recommend this because of its coral pink color, aromas of fresh watermelon, notes of cherry, subtle citrus, peach, lavender. Great summer drink, great way to get excited about French wine from a beautiful location.

Fun Fact: Gallo finally expanded its interests to the South of France, and discovered a gem.

Penny Ross in the Parkview D&W loves the Commanderie de la Bargemone Coteaux de Provence Rosé. Her comment is simple and to the point: “Lovely dry rosé-easily pairs with almost any food-chill and enjoy for this summer heat!”

Fun Fact: This palest, most delicate pinks of all, packs unexpected full flavor.

Dawn Reinbold in Portage D&W finds the rosés made from Pinot Noir grapes to be “really nice.” She recommends the Black Star Farms Arcturos Rosé from Sutton’s Bay on Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula.

Fun Fact: The market is seeing a great selection of cool climate Pinot Noir rosé from Oregon, Germany, and Michigan.

Roz Mayberry


About Roz: During her distinguished career, Roz has served a term as the Retail Representative on the MDA's Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and Continues to serve on their Promotion & Education and Competition Committees. In addition, she has served as a judge in various national and international wine competitions.

Working with D&W's wine stewards and SpartanNash's vendor partners, Roz tirelessly explores the vast world of wine, discovering the finest wines for every budget and every taste. And she loves to discuss food and wine with customers and colleagues. As a lifelong foodie, there is nothing else she'd rather be doing.