Life is meant to break the [rosé] rules

By Dave Schavone

People love rules. Maybe it makes them feel superior, IDK. The more complex a thing is, the more of these rules it will have. Fashion has so many rules about who can wear what and when they can wear it that entire books have been written on the subject. No white after Labor Day, no brown shoes with a black suit, wear pants when on Zoom calls…

The wine world is awash in rules. Some come from a good place, with the intent being to maximize enjoyment and limit waste. But many are based on old ways that simply don’t mean anything anymore. You can drink red wine with seafood, a great wine will taste great out of any glass, and you can absolutely drink rosé ALL YEAR ROUND.

It’s always struck me as odd that people want to relegate rosé consumption to the warmer months. I suppose I understand the reasoning, especially for rosés from Provence, the French region famous for those pale pink, lightly flavored wines that go so well by the pool or on a boat. Or maybe it’s the fact that most people serve their rosé chilled [many over-chilled but then again no one says white wine is only for the summer months. 

Here’s how to enjoy rosé [even in the winter]:

Any rosé can be enjoyed at any time of year, but in particular rosés with more body will do better with traditional cold-weather [comfort] foods. French rosés from Tavel or Bandol, Italian Rosatos from Puglia, or Spanish Rosados from Navarra (like our own Grenache Rosé) are great examples of pink wines that generally have a little more body and flavor than the Provence-style so many people are used to. This can be due to the grapes used to make the wine, or the amount of time the juice spends macerating [sitting] on the grape skins. While it is a bad idea to try and judge the quality of a rosé based on the shade of pink, it can be a helpful clue as to how the rosé will taste- the darker the wine, the bolder the flavor. Of course, this is a generalization and it’s always best to check with your favorite person at the local wine shop.

Brawnier rosés go great with so many winter meals, from the full Thanksgiving spread to the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve dinner. The best place to start is by exploring some darker-hued rosés, both on their own and paired with food. Once you expand your horizons beyond the usual pale pink porch pounders, you’ll find the pairings that work best for you. Really, that’s the only wine rule that should matter—drink whatever you like, with whatever you like. Everything else is just a suggestion.