Spring 2016 is upon us, and the lack of winter has made for a stunning spring showdown with wildflowers and lush green grasses. What does this mean for Texans? Well, it marks the first pull of the lawnmower from the garage, and getting those power tools gassed up and ready for another blistering warm season in the Lone Star State. There is no need to start shedding tears just yet guys and gals, the warmer weather doesn’t just mean more work on the lawn, it also includes tons of outdoor activities, and enjoyable afternoons and evenings on the back patio or near the swimming pool, all while sipping on your favorite fermented beverage. Spring and summer tend to be a beer lover’s excuse to grab the latest and greatest from the local breweries, and why not, right? However, wine has its own rightful spot in your suntanned hands this spring. The wines we will be discussing are two underrated styles of wine that have a huge spot in my heart for warm days in the outdoors. That’s right, dry Rosé and bubbles!
Possibly two of the most misunderstood wines on the face of mother earth are Rosé and sparkling wines. Unfortunately, many people associate the color “pink” with inexpensive-cheap blush wine from bulk producers in California. This could not be further from the truth! True Rosé’s are usually fermented dry and offer an inexpensive price tag, high acidity, and a youthful/floral structure that will pair with just about anything you throw at them. Rosé is making a huge comeback the world over, and I for one am super excited about the resurgence of such a playful style of wine.
Sparkling wines seem to be cornered into the market of “celebration only” to be consumed in a slim, flute style glass to celebrate a wedding or birthday. While it is true that bubbles are the proclaimed celebratory wines on the market, their place is much broader in the world of wine than one might think. Like Rosés, sparkling wines tend to be high in acidity and are super fresh as a palate cleanser, making them the perfect complement to so many types of situations and food pairings.
Whether discussing Rosé or sparkling, both of these styles of wine are simply THE mate for the fatty/greasy foods we all love to prepare in the spring and summer. Whether it is a bacon cheeseburger, a chili-cheese dog, or even queso, these wines were born to pair well with all the above. Rosé and sparklers can range from sweet to bone dry, and each has their place on the picnic table. I recommend pairing the dry versions with fatty foods such as hot dogs and burgers, while saving the off-dry to sweeter bottles for pairing with spicier foods such as bacon wrapped jalapeño peppers, and spicy beef fajitas drizzled in queso.
Whether you are a fan of bubbles or a great Rosé wine, now is the time to yank them from the cellar and start popping those corks people! Here are a few tips for the most enjoyment of these springtime treats.
Rosé: These wines are built to be consumed young. Drink the current vintage from release thru the next year at the latest. Also, as difficult as it is to break the habit, these wines are best served a bit warmer than one would typically choose to. Instead of pulling a bottle right from the kitchen fridge at bone chilling temperatures, serve Rosé wines closer to ~55 degrees. They are still refreshing and also tend to open up so much more when allowed to come up in temperature and breath a little.
Bubbles: Sparkling wines are just fine serving from the kitchen fridge or ice bucket as they are meant to be consumed chilled. However, I am a huge advocate for letting these wines breathe. My motto is “stop strangling your bubbles!” What does this mean exactly? Well, try serving your bubbles in a traditional white wine glass and you might be surprised just how much more complex and aromatic the wine becomes, vs. being served in a traditional flute glass. You will indeed lose a pinch of the perceived fizz by doing so, but the reward of more flavor and bigger aromas is well worth the switch.
Here’s to a very enjoyable warm weather season, and don’t forget to drink Texas wine. Happy spring y’all!
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados!