Last winter, I became obsessed with the idea of finding the “perfect” bar cart. My requirements were purely aesthetic, and eventually my quest arrived at its happy ending – I was gifted an absolutely stunning pewter and glass round cart for my birthday. It had two levels and many ornate details and diamond cutouts throughout. I went straight to work on accessorizing, and found a matching ice bucket, cocktail shaker, iridescent champagne glasses, shot glasses and coasters. My work was complete, or so I thought. It wasn’t until I entered LUXBAR a few weeks ago that I realized what my bar cart was missing – an eclectic collection of rosé from all over the world.
Mine had housed liquors, champagnes, proseccos and pale ales but never rosé. Admittedly, over my lifespan I haven’t been a huge rosé drinker, I started getting into this wine varietal about a year ago and with only one to two rosé options offered at many restaurants, I have always found it was slightly too sweet for my taste. As it turns out, I was just drinking the wrong rosé. So why did walking into LUXBAR bring me to this startling revelation? Three words: the rose cart. Brimming with rosé, this bar accoutrement practically summons patrons to indulge.
What makes a rosé a rosé? The grape skins – rosé incorporates color from the skins and the longer they are left in the wine, the darker the rosé will be. Unlike its prosecco and champagne counterparts, rosé can be made from a wide range of grapes and origin isn’t a contributing factor. At LUXBAR, they showcase rosé made in a variety of places across the globe using many different grapes.
Le Paradou: This extra delicious rosé originates in France and is made with the Cinsaut grape. A particularly fruity grape from Provence, it results in a dry tasting wine, and in the world of rosé dry translates to not sweet. The Paradou was my personal favorite; with notes of grapefruit and berries, it was light and crisp – the ideal libation for patio sipping.
Vinho Verde Rosé: An eclectic Portuguese wine made with four grape varietals, it has a distinct finish. This sparkling wine is brimming with notes of wild strawberries and raspberries, and is bright pink and well balanced. At the finish, slight citrus notes come through to reveal an acidic ending that cuts through the sweetness of the fruit forward first sip.
Santa Cristina: Made with Sangiovese and the most well known, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, this Italian wine also has notes of strawberry, in addition to black currant and cherry. It’s dark, dry and slightly savory. The taste lingers on the palate even after it’s gone from the glass.
Cvne: Bring on the black grapes! This full-bodied Spanish wine is made with 100% Tempranillo grapes – which makes the taste unique. A fresh and youthful spin on a traditional rosé, the floral aromas are intoxicating (literally and figuratively).
Hogwash: Straight from the USA — California to be specific, this wine has pleasant watermelon, red cherry and rose water aromas that make it bright and dreamy. Made with Grenache grapes, it’s semi-sweet but not so sweet that it’s off putting. This is an ideal starter for anyone just dipping their toes into the rosé pond.
Château Revelette: The only wine of repeat origin on the menu, this French rosé is made with a trio of grapes in Provence. Showcasing lovely notes of peach, apricot and florals, it’s best consumed as an aperitif.
Light Bites to Snack On
When rosé is flowing, eating is necessary and with a jaw-dropping menu full of noteable snacks, appetizers, seafood and steaks, finding a pairing match made in heaven is an easy task.
The Kale & Avocado Salad: Think rosé in hand, salad on fork. This fresh summer salad is drenched in broken Caesar vinaigrette, tossed with a generous helping of Grana Padano cheese, cherry tomatoes and crunchy croutons.
Line Caught Tuna Poke: This is where fruit and fish meet in consummate harmony. Fresh tuna, shrimp, mango, avocado and Macadamia nuts are tossed in citrus vinaigrette and served with chips. To say, “Yum” doesn’t do it justice.
Oysters on the Half Shell: Served fresh daily, rosé and oysters are a classic pairing practically made for patio noshing. This combination screams summertime.
Shaved Fluke Crudo: With a wide array of flavors discernible in this dish, it will appeal to specific palates. Raw shaved fluke is topped with a bevy of compressed watermelon, pickled kumquats and then brushed with soy sauce.
With roughly seven weeks left until Labor Day, the rosé cart’s lifespan is half over (at least until next summer) so grab your best friend and hit the patio ASAP!
18 East Bellevue Place, Chicago, IL 60611