Sips: the wines of summer – getting through a long, brutal winter with a good bottle of rosé

The thought of rosé in February makes many people wince.  Aren’t blush wines the easygoing liquid of summer, to be enjoyed, chilled as they are, on beach or patio as a refreshing cross between red Cape Bleuand white? Of course they are. But once you get past the psychological barrier of drinking rosé in cold weather, I think  you’ll find them (the good ones, at least) as delightful in mid-winter as in the dog days of summer. Good luck to me in persuading many of you that that’s the case.

But let’s examine the proposition a little more closely. A bottle of salmon-colored wine arrives at your doorstep, say Jean-Luc Colombo’s 2010 Cape Bleu Rosé, a $12 vin de pays from the Côte Bleu district outside Marseille with a watercolor representation of sea and sky and vineyard on the label. At first, you dismiss the notion as hopelessly off base when piles of dirty snow and subfreezing temperatures have become what seem like permanent features of the East Coast landscape and climate. But then you think of the months ahead, the inevitable thaw, spring, summer. Go ahead, try it. Well, I did the other night, tentatively at first, but quickly realizing that this was very good wine and a wine for all seasons.

That judgment gets to one of the fundamentals of rosé. Depending on the bottle, it can be a remarkably versatile food wine, as I have described it many times in the past. In this case, we enjoyed it with very fresh fluke (summer flounder) fillets roasted with Dijon mustard and tarragon. It will also match nicely with herbed chicken and pork dishes, salads and all kinds of appetizers. Its light style, with ripe strawberry and cherry tastes and a bit of citrus and cream on the finish, also make it a winning apéritif. The blend is 40 percent syrah, 40 percent mourvèdre and 20 percent counoise and alcohol is listed at a modest 12 percent. Rosé in winter? You bet.

Imported by Palm By International, Boca Raton, Florida. Received as a press sample.

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