Photo: Sara Hasstedt
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may have been ahead of the trend when they married at their Chateau Miraval winery in France: Rosé wine makes for the perfect summertime wedding toast. Once brushed aside as sweet and cloying, a vast array of rosé styles have made their way to the bar recently, making it a mainstay at beach parties, garden gatherings, and now, midsummer nuptials.
"It's one of the most awesome aperitif wines and food-pairing wines," explained Thomas Pastuszak, wine director of the Nomad Hotel in New York, who also served rosé at his summer wedding in 2014. "Americans have been confused for a long time about rosé, but that's changing. They are seeing it has all the benefits of a white wine with a kiss of flavor from the red wine."
If you're just getting into rosé or considering how to liven up your wine selection, check out these eight tips for serving wine at your July or August celebration.
It's not all sweet.
Rosé is often confused with White Zinfandel, a California wine that shares the pink hue. But rosé is a broad category that includes wines from almost everywhere in the world, and some of the most quintessential rosés come from the southern coast of France in Provence, including Chateau Miraval. "The tradition of pink wine is dry," Pastuszak said. He also noted that now many American producers are marketing their versions as "dry rosé" to help the drinker understand it's not sweet, fruity and one-dimensional.
Take it away from the pool.
Rosé may often be pictured on yachts and at resort pool bars, but it's certainly not for poolside sipping only: Rosé will keep your guests on the dance floor. Unlike red wine's heaviness, it's light mouthfeel and alcohol levels around 12 percent create a merry atmosphere without making guests feel too tired too early.
It's a killer food wine.
Joshua Mason, owner of a Napa Valley-based catering and event company, serves it with everything from a polenta shrimp pizza to a Meyer lemon tart. He explained that rosé goes well with quintessential summer dishes including oysters and crudo, melon and prosciutto, beet and goat cheese salad, quiche, and savory soufflés — all dishes that work well at wedding events, too. "I recommend it to the bride and groom of every wedding I do," Mason said. "And every time, without fail, it appeals to just about everyone and everything."
Look for rosé made from your favorite red wine grape.
If, for instance, you're a fan of cabernet sauvignon, you'll likely find a rosé version you can serve for your cocktail hour. Almost every major wine region in the world makes a rosé, with the color, texture and flavors of the wine differing based on the type of grape. Some popular regions include Provence, Tuscany, Rioja, California, Oregon, and New York, and top grapes include Grenache, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tavel.
Real men drink pink.
Pastuszak debunked a common myth that men do not order rosé wine. At his restaurant, Nomad, in New York, he often sees groups of men sharing a bottle of pink wine, with no women in sight. "More and more men are ordering rosé and feel comfortable ordering rose," he added. "It's not an afterthought, nor are they ordering it just because their wife or girlfriend did."
It's easy on the pocketbook.
Rosé is affordable because it's easy for vineyards to produce. Plus, it is only held a few months after the grape harvest then released. Since it's not aged, wineries don't have to incorporate the cost of aging the wine into the final price. In fact, some of the top rosés in the world retail for $20 to $30 per bottle, unlike reds, which can fetch hundreds of dollars each.
Rosé often comes in large format bottles, which can be a fun addition to a wedding bar — think magnums or even jeroboams, which is the equivalent of four regular bottles. If you haven't already cemented your status as the wine lover of your friend group, you can now: Have your bartenders serve the large format bottle as guests arrive to the reception for an impressive cocktail-hour spectacle.
You can pop rose bubbles, too.
Want rosé and sparkling, but can only serve one wine? Put the two together! Rosé champagne, while pricier given the luxurious Champagne label, has increased in popularity in the U.S. too. According to the Champagne Bureau, shipments of rosé champagne rose more than 10 percent in the past decade, and nearly one in six bottles of champagne in the U.S. is pink. A pop of pink may well be in order!