Why it’s (always) the right time for BC rosé

Meyer Family Vineyards (Naramata Bench) Rosé – Tim Pawsey photo

Not long ago it was almost impossible to find a decent rosé around these parts.

But that’s all changed in recent years. Today, rosé is hotter than pink itself.

What’s driving the rosé revolution? Well, here’s a couple of ideas.

First of all, food. While maybe not quite as storied as the Italians or French, we Canadians can honestly say we now have a firmly entrenched food and wine culture.

Good food needs good wine. And no wine style (with the possible exception of Champagne) is as food friendly as rosé. So stick that in your Baby Duck.

Rosé just . . . goes, from eggs Benny with smoked salmon at breakfast, to grilled chicken or salmon at lunch, a picnic with Brie or even oysters with mignonette, or just for plain sipping with anything (or anyone) you fancy.

Also revving the rosé revival is that BC winemakers—some after years of making occasionally serviceable blush wines—have also gotten serious about rosé, especially judging by the happy herd of 09s just waiting to be rounded up!

What sets these wines apart is that they’re made from some less obvious BC varietals—such as Gamay which is an increasingly recurring theme—and is used elsewhere very successfully.

Some of these you will have to look for a little harder than others. But they’re all well worth the search.

• Distraction Rosé 2009. This wine comes from The View, which is on the East Kelowna Bench (at least that’s what we think it should be called) not far from Tantalus. We like its cherry notes and fruit intensity, broad palate and depth. And guess what—it’s Pinotage, which judging by our tasting should do very well here. Track it down at VQA stores in the coming couple of weeks for around $14

• Quails Gate Rosé, balanced 2009. Made from 100% Estate Grown Gamay (that winemaker Grant Stanley secretly plotted to use for this very purpose…) Arguably one of the best to date. Vibrant red fruit on top with a strawberry toned palate, juicy acidity and a clean, lengthy, vinous end. Could be a summer staple. BCLS, VQA etc $14.99

• Dunham & Froese Rosé 2009. A perennial favourite, mainly Merlot with a 5% splash of Syrah, this comes from D&F’s certified organically grown vineyard, tucked away in Covert Farms just north of Oliver. Loads of body and character for $16-$18. Imminent at Everything Wine, PWS

• Meyer Family Vineyards Gamay Rosé 2009. We found out just how food friendly rosé can be when we got to test drive this wine with any number of plates at Summerland’s Local Lounge and Grille. It was a slam dunk with everything from chili grilled prawns and crispy avocado to crab and chickpea falafel, and coriander crusted Ahi tuna. Lively and mouth filling with balanced fruit intensity, medium dry, with a lengthy end. Superb. PWS or from the winery.

•JoieFarm Rosé 2009. Joie’s 09 releases are, across the board, their best wines yet, and the Loire inspired Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir and Pinot Meunier rosé blend is no exception. Heidi Noble and Michael Dinn have dubbed it ‘Re-Think-Pink’ and its raspberry, strawberry, slightly tangy cranberry tones indeed dispel any notion you ever had of rosé being sweet and frou-frou. And again, acidity and purity of fruit carry through to a dry close. $20.90 PWS