Well, here it finally is, Toronto – Spring has arrived! On the horizon lies nature’s promise of intentions to lift and thaw our spirits after a long winter of pandemic-déjà vu. Look to rosés to celebrate the new season!
50 shades of pink
Many of them range from easy drinking and fruity, to slightly off-dry, with residual sugar – perfect for spicier fare, and salty Easter hams. For those who don’t like it the least bit sweet, there are PLENTY of bone-dry, minerally, crisp and refreshing everyday sippers you’ll want on tap as your house rosé wine. Oui oui! La vie en rosé est plus belle! Life is grande in 50 shades of pink.
Now … where to source your boutique rosés from? Wine bars are a great place to start! If you’re still not comfortable with dining in, the once cozy neighbourhood nooks and wine-sipping-watering-holes scattered across the GTA have transformed themselves into wine retail hotspots fully loaded with plenty of pink to go!
Just in case you need a case … look to wine bars
Many of these Euro-inspired bodegas bottle shops conveniently offer gourmet meals for takeaway to compliment a thoughtful, curated selection of their specialty wines – by the bottle, and by the case. (Just in case, you need a case.) Thankfully, you won’t find the same wines anywhere near the LCBO.
Specialty wine shops generally offer a wider selection of natural, organic and smaller producers. Get better quality juice, made sustainably with the longevity of the planet in mind. Alas, a brand new niche wine market rises from the ashes of a global pandemic!
Boutique wine bar Paris-Paris carries iconic Southern French wine producer Domaine Tempier – when available in limited supply. Tempier is an absolute legend in the Bandol rosé wine producing region, located in South West France.
Bandol is home to the heavy hitting red grape Mourvèdre. It is often seen in Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre (GSM) blends in the Rhône Valley, France, as well as the Barossa Valley, Australia.
Be patient for the good stuff
You should have a case of Tempier on hand at any given time, for any given occasion. If you can’t get ahold of the latest vintage due to limited availability, wait patiently for the next shipment. (It’s well worth the wait!)
They typically close with a bone dry finish despite their unctuous fruit-forward nature. Expect stone fruits with blackberries and cream, mixed with lavender and other sweet n’ savoury herbs.
Their unique, and unbeatable refreshing minerality comes from ancient clay, and marl soils. Simply splendid matched with roast poultry or pork dishes with fragrant spices like sage and thyme.
Try estate grown (grower Champagne) from an 8th generation family owned and operated winery: Lelarge-Peugot. A biodynamic, and organic Champagne producer located in the Premier Cru village of Vrigny, Montagny de Reims, France. Available through Paris-Paris in very limited quantities.
Lelarge Pugeot N/V Rosé Extra Brut, Champagne, A.O.C France, Organic & Biodynamic
Grape: 100% Pinot Noir, 33 year old vines
Adorned with sun-kissed ripe strawberry, wild cherry, bright raspberry notes; contrasted by doughy-brioche, chalky stoney minerals, fragrant pink and red floral aromas on the nose. You just might see life through rosé-coloured glasses following your first sip! Exuberant on the palate – bone dry, medium bodied weight with brisk acidity.
Enjoy fine, moussey persistent bubbles, and a long meringue-cream finish. A beautiful Champagne rosé that begs to be paired with classic “Strawberries & Champagne”. Why not add a French buttery pastry like a croissant to the mix, and call it brunch?
Our good friends and Somms at Midfield Wine Bar in little Portugal have plenty of sparkling and still rosé wines to sip during Spring’s (ideally early) arrival. Here are some of their go-to recommendations; tried, tested and true:
Domaine Tisso NV Crémant du Jura Rosé Brut
Region: Jura, France
A lovely, non-vintage crémant rosé to welcome spring with each savoured sip! Made with Pinot Noir, Poulsard, Trousseau grapes from Stéphane Tissot’s biodynamic estate in Arbois, France.
Here’s what Wine Director at Midfield Wine Bar Annette Bruley has to say about one of her top rosé picks for spring:
“Refined and dry, but still fruit forward with notes of macerated raspberries and strawberries, a touch of white flower, warm spice, and a surprisingly delicate minerality. As good as Champagne, and perfect as an aperitif this bubbly is fantastic alongside the perfect dessert. A necessary accompaniment to a bubble bath!”
Midfield carries a number of boutique and eclectic rosés from around the world, including Croatia! Check out their online shop here, and don’t be shy to reach out and ask for help when unsure of what style you’re after, or if recommendations are sold out.
Different styles for different palates
Archive 909 Wine Bar, a Dundas-West St. favourite wine-bar-turned specialty bottle shop carries an exhaustive (and exciting!) list of unique boutique rosés from around the world including Italy, Spain, France, Australia, Chile – to name a few international regions.
With such a wide range of styles to choose from, you’re bound to find one for every day of the week, and one that suits your unique palate. Need some guidance? Don’t be shy to pick up the phone and ask for help before you place your online order. Wine pros, and keen staff are on the other end to help – and they’ve likely done their liquid research to serve you better!
Last but not least – just because it’s different … a belissima light pink sparkler from Italy. Available agency direct through Profile Wine Group:
Medici Ermete “Phermento Metado” NV Ancestrale Rose
Region: Emilia Romagna, Italy
Can your mouth sing high-octave Opera notes molto bene, in praise of SPRING with an Italian pink bubbly? Si! Say “ciao primavera” (hello spring!) with a lovely pink frizzante made with 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara grapes. “Frizzante” means slightly fizzy – as in not a full Champagne-pop. (A gentler sparkle.)
This one holds a deep, rich cherry-pink hue, with fine perlage and bursts into a juicy bouquet of crushed red raspberries and pomegranate on the nose and palate; finishing dry.
What a fruity and vibrant way to greet warmer weather with! Pair with cheese and charcuterie boards, wood-fired oven pizzas, batter deep-fried fish – and the first signs of spring.