There is no doubt rosé is the wine craze of the summer; this is no longer a surprising statement. Rosé sales have been on the rise for several years now, and are especially noticeable in the summer. The medium body and crisp acidity of a good rosé, not to mention the fact the wine is chilled, are an excellent accompaniment to the sort of lighter dishes and grilled foods we tend to eat in warmer months. And just when you thought you'd covered all possible bases for food pairings with rosé, something entirely new makes its way to the U.S. from Germany: Rosé All Day Gummy Bears.
Sugarfina, a confectionary company, has come is importing a grown-up version of the popular Gummy Bear candy, this one flavored with Whispering Angel, one of the best selling French rosé wines in the U.S. In some ways, the Gummy Bears are even more popular than the wine - the entire production run sold out in two hours, and Sugarfina has started a waiting list for the next batch expected to be in stock by the end of the month. While a bit pricier than many of its competitors, Whispering Angel is a wonderful wine - crisp, elegant and light without sacrificing real rosé flavor. The ultimate taste test of a rosé is to sip it from a dark glass where you can't see the color. Would you still know it's a rosé, or would you think it's a white wine? Whispering Angel easily passes this test, and, once they are back in stock, I look forward to trying the new chewy bears, too. Yes, I put myself on the wait list, and you can too, right here.
Seeing these bears make a splash is confirmation the rosé boom isn't over yet. Rosé wines continue to post rapidly ascending sales figures that are, increasingly, unaffected by weather. A year ago, the New York Times' wine writer Eric Asimov suggested, "More than any other wine, rosés suffer from a sort of seasonal affective disorder. Near the end of summer, sales begin to slow. By winter they are depressed, if not dead." Even in areas like Florida, where I live and where there is much less of a temperature fluctuation than many regions, there is emotional seasonality -- whether December feels like freezing winter or not, we associate it with winter, and I have in the past had a tougher time getting friends to share a glass of rosé with me even though the sun is out and warm. That's not so much the case anymore - I find more and more men and women ready to embrace rosé as real wine rather than some tinted hybrid.
I got a new wine weapon in my arsenal a couple of weeks ago when I participated in an online rosé tasting with my friends at Protocol WineStudio and had the opportunity to meet the team at Cannonball Wine Company and sample a new project they've created with a graphic designer friend called Angels & Cowboys. The new winery only makes two wines - full-bodied red and an absolutely dazzling rosé. This blend of Grenache Rouge, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Grenache Blanc is sourced from three Sonoma County AVAs - Carneros, Alexander Valley & Dry Creek Valley. Purchasing grapes allows the vintners to craft a wine from small vineyards and carefully control their blend rather than depending on whatever a winery-owned single vineyard can produce.
The wine is as close to an ideal, Provence-style rosé as I can imagine. It's a bit more full-bodied than what I usually find from Côtes-de-Provence (perfectly fine with me) and it is wonderfully aromatic. Crisp and clean on the palate, it's refreshing like a white wine but more like a red wine in its ability to pair with a variety of foods. For the technically minded among you, winemakers Yoav Gillat and Dennis Hill stir the lees for two months, giving the wine a creaminess and texture that underscores its freshness and acidity. This is one of the best California rosés I've tasted in ages. I don't believe it is being exported yet, but in the U.S. you can find it at many Whole Foods Markets. Definitely worth seeking out at about $15 a bottle. I'm not sure how it will go with Gummy Bears, but with a Cuban-style roast pork, it's pretty phenomenal.