If you love entertaining, warmer weather brings up images of visiting with friends on the patio or deck, and enjoying light summer fare with a delicious, refreshing rosé wine. Now’s the time to make plans, and nothing is more fun than planning a soiree. All you need are the best pairings for summer dishes with wines you and your guests will love.
Rosé wines are lighter than their fully red cousins, often with a fruitier aroma and palate. Many of the best rosés originate from Southern France and Italy, so dishes that complement these wines well are often found among various Mediterranean cuisines, including French, Italian and Greek recipes.
Within the rosé family, there’s a wide variety of choices, each with its own special qualities, so enjoy trying many that pair well with light summer dishes.
Here are some food and wine ideas to get you started.
Fresh, delicious salads
You can’t go wrong with a delicious summer salad, using fresh local produce, but then going in your own direction by choosing different proteins or fruits. First decide whether you’re making it as an appetizer, side or main course.
If you’re keeping your salad light to serve as a starter or side, you may want to choose a rosé that goes especially well with fresh produce. One great choice is Il Poggione Brancato Rosato 2018, derived from Sangiovese grapes, which offer a fresh taste and pleasant roundness on the palate, evoking the flavor of strawberries, cherries, spices and flowers. You could serve it with a light salad niçoise, melon and prosciutto or Greek salad.
For a main course, such as a seafood salad featuring crab, shrimp or lobster, or a salad using hearty ingredients like roasted corn, avocado or quinoa, you might want to choose a Provencal variety. Mathilde Chapoutier Provence Rosé uses a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes. While the Grenache grapes add a fruity flavor with bright grapefruit and apricot notes, the Syrah grapes add more body and round out the texture. This is a fresh but well-balanced rosé that will complement a variety of salads, light pasta and rice side dishes, plus lightly cooked seafood. Mathilde Chapoutier Provence Rosé tastes a little more refined, crisp and fresh than other rosés from the Provence region.
Fire up the grill
For meats, chicken or seafood grilled on the barbecue, you’ll want to try a more medium-bodied rosé that can stand up to bigger flavors like the spice and heat in your barbecue sauce. Southern French rosés, like those from the Rhone valley, often pair well with grilled and cured meats. You could try serving M. Chapoutier Belleruche Rosé 2018 with your barbecue. While still relatively delicate and fruity on the palate, with strawberry notes and a silky mouthfeel, this rosé offers a well-balanced acidity for a fresh, prolonged finish.
To pair with grilled vegetables, fish and lighter white meat dishes, the intense, brightly colored Feudi di san Gregorio Rosaura 2018 provides a fresh, lively taste, with notes of freshly picked berries. This is a wonderful complement to slightly less spicy entrees.
Whether you’re serving a sweet dessert, a fresh fruit salad or a cheese plate, you’ll want to end the meal on a refreshing note, perhaps by serving your guests a sparkling rosé. There’s nothing like bubbles — whether dry or slightly sweet — to top off a delightful summer evening. Even if you’re serving a decadent dessert like chocolate mousse or cake, be sure to add a little fresh, seasonal fruit like berries as a garnish, to delight the palate and enhance the light, summer feeling of your soiree. Edible flowers also make an excellent dessert garnish that provides a feast for the eyes.
Whichever rosé varieties you choose for your guests, make sure to serve them chilled. Rosés are best served from around 45-55 degrees F, but also remember that the wine will warm up quickly in the glass, especially if the outdoor temperature is high. You may want to err on the side of serving it cooler, or chill the wine glasses for a while before pouring. Find your new favorite wines at terlatowines.com, and let the summer soirees begin!