Get into the Pink – with BC Rosé wines

  • Nov. 16, 2017 1:30 p.m.

Don’t forget about rosé wines just because summer has come and gone!

Rosés are not necessarily sweet. The trendiest rosés this summer may have been the classic dry French wines from Provence in the south of France… but our own B.C. winemakers have come up with their own versions to fuel the pink wine phenomenon.

Proclaiming itself to be “devilishly delicious”, Diabolica Rosé (171785) $15.49 is a refreshing blend of 53 per cent Merlot, 34 per cent Shiraz, 8 per cent Cabernet Franc and 5 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon. Strawberry and cherry aromas lead into a medley of red fruit flavours that seem sweet on first sip but finish crisp and clean.

All our local wineries seem to want to get in on the action. Northern Lights Estate Winery is B.C.’s most northern winery. They produce a variety of fruit wines and blends from blueberries, strawberries, haskap, gooseberries, apples, cherries, raspberries, blackcurrants, and rhubarb.

The underrated rhubarb plant is blended with strawberry to make Northern Lights “Seduction” (894121) $16.29. Lightly pink, brightly fruity, Northern Lights Estate Winery’s “Seduction” wine has been crowned the “Best Varietal” in the fruit wine category in the BC Best of Varietal Wine Competition. One sip of Seduction will challenge any prejudices you might have about fruit wines.

Many wine lovers share similar prejudices when it comes to even trying – never mind actually appreciating and enjoying – any rosés. Neither white nor red, rosés straddle the wine and food pairing lines quite magnificently. And winemakers here in British Columbia get it!

Opened in 2009 by Roger and Jillian Wong and Geri and Ross Davis, Intrigue Wines is situated in the Lake Country region, 25 kms north of Kelowna just north of Gray Monk Winery. Roger Wong and Geri Davis have close ties to Gray Monk, having worked there – Wong as winemaker, Davis as Controller.

Intrigue’s “Social” wines are jazzily packaged, as cheerful as the wines themselves. Intrigue Social Rosé (34336) $17.49 is an intriguing blend of 87 per cent Riesling, 7 per cent Rotberger, 5 per cent Merlot, and 1 per cent Malbec. Full of bright strawberry and rhubarb flavours, this summer sipper is tough not to like, finishing with teasing hints of pink grapefruit and watermelon.

Picking a pink wine from the many that British Columbia’s wineries offer is a demanding task. As is so often the case with best that BC has to offer, the wines are leaner and brighter than many imports from warmer growing regions and fabulously food friendly.

Perseus Winery is owned by the Terrabella Wineries group and opened in 2009. Perseus Pinot Noir Rosé (840751) $18.99 could be mistaken for a white wine, tasted blindfolded and overly chilled. Sipped at room temperature, however, it shows all of the gorgeous cherry, strawberry and cranberry aromas and flavours that make good Rosés great!

Beyond the sadly common pink wine prejudices, there’s the whole notion that when they’re less than perfectly “dry” all rosés are cloyingly sweet. Not true! Despite high natural fruit sugar levels that seem sweet on first sip, high natural malic and tartaric acid levels keep the same wine bright and crisp in the finish.

Just outside of Okanagan Falls, Wild Goose Estate winery has been specializing in exuberantly fruity wines since 1990. Made from 100 per cent late picked Naramata Bench Merlot grapes, Wild Goose Rosé (441360) $18.99 is explosively, extravagantly fruity – like a strawberry & rhubarb pie fresh from the oven with a sprinkling of fresh crushed summer ripe raspberries as a dressing.

Joie Farm began in 2004, opening with two high-toned whites – an unoaked Chardonnay, their ‘A Noble Blend’ of Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Kerner, Muscat, Auxerrois and Ehrenfelser – and a sassy rosé from Pinot Noir. Winemaker Heidi Noble’s house style is bright, and ‘racy’, whether the wines are white, rosé or red.

Not many wineries in British Columbia were built with such a focus on rosés. Joie Farm Rosé (511469) $21.00 is a blend of 75 per cent Pinot Noir and 25 per cent Gamay. Just barely off-dry, this medium bodied rosé has underlying notes of dried thyme and dusty sage that add lingeringly complex notes to the finish.

Regardless of how cold or wet it is outside, few wines pair as well with most foods as rosés. Don’t overlook these BC treasures!

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com

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