Rosé wine—mostly dry wine, that is—pairs great with a wide range of food. In fact it’s one of the best pairing wines there is. Rosé wine is a “bridge” between red and white wine, and don’t think “plonk” or White Zinfandel; Rosés can be sophisticated and fairly expensive, frankly, such as Domaines Ott, which Sherry-Lehmann in Manhattan calls the “gold standard” and sells for about forty bucks a bottle. Wines with just a hint of sweetness can be great pairs, because let’s face it, a lot of the food we eat has a little sweetness to it: BBQ sauce on ribs, tomato sauce on pasta, and glaze for Asian foods. Rosés are great for all these.
BTW, Rosés from Spain and South America are typically referred to as Rosado, and many of them tend to be darker and fuller-bodied.
Rosés are generally not made by adding red wine to white, by the way. I’ll steal from another column on my own blog and give you a little explanation here. Most Rosés begin life just like red wines; red grapes are de-stemmed, crushed and then placed in a fermenter. But instead of spending two or three weeks with the grapes skins in contact with the juice as red wines are, the skins are removed after a brief period, a few hours to maybe a couple days depending on the type of grape and the style the winemaker’s going for. This relatively brief skin contact allows just enough color to turn the wine pink (or salmon, orange or coral). It also adds a tiny bit of tannin, and some complexity.
Another method is to just drain off some of the juice from a red wine during its very early stages of fermentation, then place it into own fermenter and finish the process. The process is called saignée (“to bleed”).
Pairing before a meal
Before a meal, try pairing with charcuterie—prepared and cured meats such as sausages, salami, pate, prosciutto, etc. It is perfect with Tapas.
Rosé also goes great with a number of cheeses, especially mild ones. But frankly, for me it works with almost all cheese, though some will call me a heretic for saying that.
Baba gannoush and hummus go nicely, as do olives, peanuts, sardines and anchovies, cold shrimp, and cold vegetables with dipping sauces. Most chips with dips work well, and as you’ll see, if the dip is especially spicy, go with a more full-bodied style.
Hamburgers are great pairings, as are hot dogs, BBQ chicken, most Mexican food, grilled sausages, egg dishes, most grilled or smoked white fish, rice, baked ham, cold chicken and tuna salads, green salads, quiche, salade Niçoise, stews, and beef, chicken and pork sandwiches. Work well with all but the most full-bodied or fiery tomato sauces. Doesn’t work with creamy sauces.
Also goes well with a variety of fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, and melons/cantaloupes.
Rosé wine is excellent with lobster, veal, Indian food, paella and foods with saffron, Szechuan food, and Thai food. With the spicy Asian dishes, try the darker and fuller bodied styles.