Jane Parkinson on why rosé is an underappreciated match for food
German riesling aside, no wine is prejudged more than rosé—although it’s hardly surprising, given the confusion about pink wine.
The most damning prejudice, and the one that has prevented rosé from being taken more seriously, is about sweetness. Or to be more specific, the colour and sweetness correlation. Except, there is no correlation. None whatsoever. The unsubstantiated myth that the hotter pink the colour, the sweeter the wine has largely derived from the Californian rosés we find on supermarket shelves, neon pink and packed with residual sweetness (leftover sugar in the wine after it has gone through alcoholic fermentation).
These styles can be perfectly sound, but they have left pink wine with an unfortunate reputation. In fact, the colour is usually at the whim of the winemaker; the stronger pink the winemaker wants, the more they extract it from the grape’s skin—it has no impact on the wine’s sweetness.
The second misconception is more anecdotal—nevertheless, it was embedded into people’s wine-drinking culture for many years: pink wine is for girls. This old-fashioned and cringe-worthy assumption has mostly and thankfully been kicked to the kerb in recent years, thanks to the ‘brosé’ revolution of modern times.
Meanwhile, prejudices three and four, namely seasonality and food matching, are related. Just like port in winter, rosé suffers from the belief that there is only one season in which it can or should be drunk. However, because of rosé’s vastly underrated versatility as a food wine, it’s actually a style that transcends seasons very easily.
This winter, we are pairing rosé with Rosie Birkett's Pork belly with rhubarb ketchup. The aforementioned sweeter pink wines could make a very clever match with rhubarb-based desserts, but with savoury dishes that include rhubarb as a condiment ingredient, punchy but dry rosé will be kinder to both the palate and the ingredients—no matter what shade of pink is in the glass.
Domaine de la Touraize Arbois Rosé 2016
The French Comté, £11.90
A rosé with freshness and fruitiness from one of the wine regions of the moment: the Jura. Bone-dry and made with pinot noir and trousseau, its bright cherry and soft red fruit flavours marry the tang and fruitiness of the rhubarb ketchup, while its combination of crispness and fullness of flavour make a happy match with the richness of belly pork.