As this heat wave persists past the “unofficial” end of summer, friends and clients keep asking if I am pleased to have a little more time to work with rosés, considering that “rosé season is really over.” My response – that I drink and serve rosé – assuming I can get it! – throughout the year – has met with more than a few incredulous expressions.
Granted, rosés typically are made to be drunk young, not to be cellared for decades, or even a few years.* That being said, they also do not have an expiration date – certainly not “Labor Day of any given year!” A well-made rosé, with a backbone of light tannins and a vibrant acidity, will continue to develop in the bottle and likely will drink well at least through the next year’s release. I raised this subject with several of my colleagues, each of whom immediately called to mind examples of rosés – a spicy Ciliegiolo from Liguria; a rich Negroamaro from Puglia; smooth but deeply-flavored Chinon rosés made from Cabernet Franc – that will begin to shine just as we reach September or even October.
Not to mention that many rosés make beautiful accompaniments to the warming aromas and flavors of autumn and winter fare. Consider for a moment one or two or three of the rosés you have enjoyed this summer, and imagine how they might play with the complicated flavors of a rich-sweet-savory Thanksgiving dinner, or a slow, slow, falling-off-the-bone roast. If those kinds of pairings sound enticing, the challenge then becomes securing the desired rosés in the fall and winter months. Many winemakers release their rosés – though outstanding wines in their own right – as compliments to the reds they will age and release later in a season, or years later, and make them only in small quantities. I hope to hide away at least a couple of bottles of Division Winemaking Company’s 2017 Division-Villages “l’Avoiron” Rosé of Gamay Noir – bitter-sweet-tart of biting into a cherry, with a little of the pit as well; bitter orange; sage and a little salt – to sip with pumpkin soup and crusty bread with olive oil. I also have my eyes on the 2017 Lamoresca Rosato – soft, sweet-and-sour cherries nose; fresh cherries and a bit of heirloom tomatoes on the palate, with a smooth but pronounced finishing acidity – to save for a root vegetable stew, carrots, potatoes, turnips, bay, and black pepper. May I propose you consider tucking a few of your favorites away as well?
*For one notable exception, check out Clos Cibonne, Côtes de Provence Rosé Tradition. This wine is released only after it has aged for a year on the lees under “fleurette” or a thin veil of yeast resting on top of the liquid. This veil slows down oxygen exposure, while permitting and contributing to the wine developing more complex flavors, texture, and structure.