In warm weather, when you want a wine that's cool and refreshing but would really rather be drinking red than white, reach for rosé.
Though usually made from red grapes, rosé is meant to be drunk chilled. The difference in color and body between red wines and rosé comes from how long the juice soaks with the grape skins. With rosé, the winemaker separates the juice from the color- and body-building grape skins after only a brief soak, producing the dainty pink hue and the light body. Rosés end up light, fruity, and refreshing.
All this explains why rosé is the great compromise wine, holding that respectful middle ground between reds and whites. Rosé also pairs well with all sorts of foods, particularly grilled foods.
Look for rosé wines from...just about anywhere. The image above shows a small selection of rosé wines (both still and sparkling) from California, Germany, Austria, and France. But they've become so popular that quality rosé for casual summer sipping is being made pretty much anywhere red wines are made, including Spain, Italy, Washington State, and Australia.
Here are some favorite summer food pairings with rosé.
"So fast and easy to prepare, these shrimp are destined to be the hit of any barbeque. And, weather not permitting, they work great under the broiler, too." -- SUBEAST, recipe submitter
Chicken, steak, veggies -- if you can thread it through a skewer and pop ipizt on the grill, you can pair it with rosé.
"Everything is better on the grill!" says Doug, the recipe submitter. And everything from the grill is better with a little rosé. But as far as making pizza on the grill goes: "Even with a baking stone, a conventional oven is no match," says Doug. "The grill is the way to go. The heat of a hot grill is perfect, and makes it possible to make incredible pizza at home."
Grilled flank steak is always a great match for rosé. Pairing the steak with a fresh salad that combines fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil in a light olive oil dressing makes it even better.
"Delicious fajita marinade made with lime juice, olive oil, and soy sauce, and spiced up with cayenne and black pepper." -- Robbie Rice, recipe submitter
Another winner. Are you getting the idea that summer grilling is the right time for rosé? Thought so.
Another fun one. Rosé favors the unfussy, the non-fancy. "Giving a sausage a cool, coiled shape isn't just fun or frivolous; it's also fully functional," says Chef John. "The extra surface area picks up additional delicious smoky, caramelized flavors from the grill." Watch how Chef John makes his sausages go all curly-Q!
Now, if you're grilling a big juicy steak or maybe a burger with blue cheese, and you feel like anything less than red wine would be a let down, here's a trick for making red wine more friendly in warm weather.