Rosé for All

by Heidi Chan

Last week I met with a friend for a catch up over dinner. We had gone for a drink first, the usual stuff. Yeah...Pint it is!  It seemed like usual for men to go for pints right before meals. I'm never a fan of beer but the thing is, it is full of bubbles that makes you so bloated in the belly.

It's quite true though about the saying, 'Can't be in a pub and not have a pint'. Absolutely, I'll have a pint of larger please. As my friend finished his first Guinness and headed for the second one the serving staff just bringing over, I had to quickly switched to a glass of wine. We got to leave room for the food!

I noticed that men tend to love the way a 'full' pint sits in the hand especially when they are drinking in a pub. Yet, I prefer a wine glass, something lightweight, more comfortable to hold that gives you enough flexibility to socialise, moving gracefully from the bar to the pedestrian street.  

As soon as our drinks were bottoms up we moved to eat elsewhere for some Asian fusion food. My first choice for drinks was a bone dry Provencal Rosé made with Grenache and Cinsault. While keeping the options open for the second glass, I also checked the wine list for another rosé just if there's no other near equivalent to the style of a lighter red available. The Provencal Rosé has proven to be such a good accompaniment to the fresh delightful dishes we had. It has an attractive balance of fruit and acidity that makes it a really nice complement to subtle dishes such as Fish Carpaccio, fresh vege in rice paper roll with sweet nutty satay sauce. And then we got Duck Breast Salad with fish sauce mild chilli dressing, just to see how adaptable is a rosé wine!?  It goes without saying that this one is similar in style to Grenache+Cinsault, though way lighter than their fully-fermented cousins. To my surprise, it paired so well with duck meat at the same time, in the strength of its strong red fruit profile to stand up to gamey flavours and a rich dressing. Some said pairing wine and food didn't have to be a stressful experience, that was totally spot on!

There was a time when most Rosés were a "byproduct" of red wine fermentation, now that we see more wineries launching varietal rosé that are made with much love and care. The other Rosé I tried that night - the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Rose from Barossa, were selling at a reasonable price point. Supple, flavourful and rounded texture, and it has the body of a Cabernet red wine. It paired so nicely with red meat dishes such as twice cooked marinated pork ribs without fail.

Here are more pairings with Rosés that I think work:

  • Venison carpaccio with Wasabi mayaonaise sauce and Pistachio, walnut (dry Merlot rose)
  • Pan seared Akaroa Salmon Fillet (Merlot rose or light red)
  • Fois Gras (sweet)
  • Parma ham and melon (slightly sweet)

So excited to see more rosés coming in distinctive styles and now become one best alternative to white or red wine (at the lighter end) when it comes to a pairing. Perhaps this is the choice to go for somewhere between heading from a classic A to a class B over the course of fine-dining etiquette. Would rosés be the next game changer?