When you think rosé, you probably think of sipping away in the warm sunshine. And now that summer is over (*sniff*), that means good-bye, sweet, refreshing, pink-hued perfection, right? Well, wait juuust a minute. If you're not a fan of all the pumpkin-themed this and that (or you're not ready to part with your drink of choice just because it's fall), listen up: We talked to Los Angeles-based sommelier Brooke Matthias (she's the associate wine director at wine company Winc and a big rosé drinker, natch) and found out that rosé is actually a year-round drink. (Cue the collective sigh of relief.) Here are five reasons it works for fall, winter, and beyond (plus, Matthias shares her favorites!).
1. Rosé, which is made from red grapes, is a wine category just like red or white—so it has a huge range of varieties. "There are so many different rosés out there," Matthias says. "Everything from your typical dry Provence, high-acid rosé from France to a white zinfandel from California. There's a lot of nuances, which means there is always a rosé for your mood and meal."
Try: Stift Gottweig 2015 Pinot Noir Messwein Rosé This is an Austrian pick that Matthias says is "light-bodied" with "some wonderful aromatics that make it lively and easy to drink."
2. It's less expensive than many other types of wine. For reals. It's because it doesn't need to be aged, so it's easier (and cheaper) to produce, and therefore, tends to cost less when you pick up a bottle at your local shop. "What's redeeming about rosé is that refreshing quality and the crisp acidity," Matthias says. "When you age the wine, it will only lose those qualities."
Try: Domaine Carneros 2012 Brut Rosé "This sparkling rosé is dry, but has some beautiful red fruit flavors that, along with the bubbles, make it really fun to pair with a holiday feast," she says.
3. Rosé and your favorite fall and winter foods are BFFLs. "I think rosé is essentially the easiest wine to pair with food and that's what I love about it," Matthias says. "If you're making butternut squash or cream sauces or mashed potatoes—things that are a little bit heavier—go with rosés with more color. They tend to have more sweetness or fruit concentration on the pallet, which helps them to pair well with food."
Try: 2015 Ruza Rosé Ruza is made from zinfandel grapes, and it's in a can, which makes it super fun to drink (and portable!). "It has a more intense color and a fuller body," she says. "Ruza can stand up to the heavier flavors that come with the fall season."
4. It's perfect for drinking before or after a meal. In other words, rosé is a boss apertif. "I like to start my meal with a higher acid, chilled wine, and rosés do an even better job of matching up to things like fall and winter foods than white wine," Matthias says. "To me, it's a no-brainer to start your meal or end your meal with rosé in the fall."
Try: 2015 Cocomero Barbera California What's cool about this one is it's made with Barbera grapes, which, according to Matthias, aren't commonly used for rosé outside of Italy. The contact with the grapes creates a "deeper concentration of color and added structure," she says. So it's got a touch of sweetness that makes it easy to pair with all kinds of dishes.
5. Going against the norm is more fun anyway. "Rules are meant to be broken and, ultimately, people should drink whatever they enjoy and that's number one to me," Matthias says. "I don't necessarily like guidelines. I like to know what they are and when I want to break them." We'll drink to that!
Try: Chateau Maris Old School 2015 "Old School comes from the southern area in France called Languedoc," Matthias says. "This wine is biodynamic and has more herbal and spicy flavors to complement the fruit flavors. It's a great match with charcuterie."
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