Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Some Like it Hot. In the Heat of the Night. Too Hot To Handle. Body Heat. What’s going on? Have we lost our minds here at The Kitten? Is this a movie trivia quiz? Nope and nope. But perhaps we do have a touch of heat stroke. With record high temperatures here and in many parts of the country this past week, our theme today is heat, baby, heat—bona fide, summer time, parched lips, make-you-sweat, scorching heat. Or, more precisely, what wine to choose to beat the heat.
If you’ve ever been to an outdoor party on a hot evening, asked for a glass of red wine and then found yourself with a warm glass and an awful sipping experience (no matter how great the wine in question might be), you’ll know we are going to stay away from the red wines we adore and steer you to something simpler but more refreshing for these hotter than hot circumstances. Yes, it’s time we ventured to the land of Rosé.
Like so many people, Rosé used to conjure for us the overly sweet, bright pink liquid that was quite a few notches below what we would consider “real wine.” We turned up our noses at it. We scoffed. We looked askance. But with Rosé gaining new popularity in recent years, and with a number of our favorite wineries now producing one, we had to take a second look (or sip, rather) and give our preconceptions a run for their money, once again. To name just a few of our favorite vintners whose Rosés have help to change our opinion:
- Toulouse Vineyards Anderson Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir
- Navarro Vineyards Anderson Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir
- Copain “Tous Ensemble” Anderson Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir
- Hendry Rosé, which happens to be made from Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, along with just a little bit of Cabernet Franc and Primitivo, if you can believe it.
Yes, we have a lopsided list tilted in favor of Mendocino’s Anderson Valley, but you know this is where our heart is, so you’ve already been forewarned. The Hendry Rosé is not only our attempt at diversity, but also allows us to make the point that Rosé can be made from any grape, which makes for a lot of variety and creativity in this wine. And you can find Rosés made all around the world. For instance, we’ve tried a several fun Argentinian Rosés recently made from Malbec. Of course, the French have somewhat cornered the market for eons. But the point is that the choices are abundant. And typically, they are very affordable, as well.
So on the eve of the 4th of July, with a 100+ degree heat index here in Minnesota, we retreated to the cool, air-conditioned indoors and opened the only Rosé we happened to have on hand: a well chilled bottle of Charles & Charles 2011 Rosé from the Columbia Valley in Washington. It seemed a fitting choice not just because it’s a wine that should be served well chilled, but also because the label insinuates the American flag, making for a very patriotic bottle. Made from Syrah grapes, the wine was more salmon colored than blush pink. It had light, floral aromas and some honeysuckle on the nose. Refreshing to sip, we found flavors of strawberry, honeysuckle and a hint of tangy jolly rancher. Not overly sweet, it had an embracing crispness which we enjoyed. And I believe we paid only $10 for the bottle.
The two Charles’s of the wine’s name are Bieler and Smith, both of whom have lengthy credentials in the wine world. Bieler is associated with Three Thieves and Bieler Pere & Fils. Smith is the guy behind K Vintners and Charles Smith Wines. Yet beyond their wine experience, what charmed us most was their tag line: “Yes, you can drink Rosé and still be a Bad ✰ss.” Nothing wins us over more than a good sense of humor.
So today we toast to staying cool in the summer heat, to keeping your paws off the hot tin roof and instead, wrapping them around a well chilled glass of Rosé. Cheers!