Rosé is not the same thing as White Zinfandel, Boone’s Farm’s Strawberry Hill or any other sugary pink alcohol masquerading as something drinkable that may or may not have once been housed in your parent’s basement. Rosé has been around for centuries (way longer than any White Zinfandel that has given rosé a bad reputation). Geja’s Café’s Wine Director, Blake Farnsworth shared, “Rosé is one of the fastest growing trends in wine consumption right now, and it is about time! For far too long many people have thought rosé was nothing but White Zinfandel styled wine that is way too sweet and offered no complexity or quality to the discerning palate.”
Unlike champagne, which can only be produced in Champagne, France, rosé can be made anywhere. Farnsworth declared, “In all reality, quality and complex rosé is nothing new to the wine world. Italy, France and Spain have been producing high quality rosé for decades if not centuries and many other countries have been following suit.” Since rosé is produced in a variety of regions it can be made with several grape varietals. While I am partial to rosé wine made from the Grenache grape, it is also commonly created with Pinot Noir, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Syrah, Mataro, Sangiovese, Pinot Gris and Tempranillo grapes and many more. Rosé wine is typically a blend albeit many are made using just one variety of grape. Always remember, rosé should be dry and never sugary sweet.
La Galope Rosé
When in doubt, select a rosé from France. Pale pink in color, La Galope Rosé is entirely fruit forward. The berry flavor stays on the palate long after the finish.
étoile Rosé Domaine Chandon
Domaine Chandon’s étoile (meaning star in French) is a sparkling rosé that is as luxurious as it is complex. Hints of nutmeg and plum wind their way through the full-bodied notes of raspberry and peach. With very subtle hints of toasted almonds and chocolate, this will be the star of your next dinner party (pun intended).
Sharffenberger Brut Rosé
Straight from California’s Anderson Valley, the Sharffenberger Brut Rosé is a sparkling wine whose flavors are influenced by the North Coast. It is pale pink in color with light notes of raspberry and strawberry. Suitable for a casual party, it is a fresh rosé at an excellent price point. Do note the bubbles in this rosé won’t stick around forever.
Saurus Rosé Pinot Noir
While the taste and quality of rosé is always what comes first, you can’t beat a wine that has a fascinating story to accompany it. During the construction of Familia Schroeder (the winery in Pategonia, Argentina, from which this rosé hails) dinosaur bones were discovered. The discovery of the fossilized Titanosaur bones inspired the names for both wine labels – Saurus and Saurus Select. Made only using the Pinot Noir grape, the aroma of the Saurus Rosé is floral and fruit forward while the taste is very crisp, clean and delicate.
Luis Alegre Rioja Rosado
The Tempranillo grapes for Luis Alegre Rioja Rosado (a fresh Spanish rosé), are hand picked and hand sorted. Its delicate handling produces a still rosé that is very dry with light floral notes and subtle hints of leather. It is almost too easy to drink.
Vina Roblés Roseum
Made with Syrah and Voignier grapes, Vina Roblés Roseum is a dry, coral colored, robust California rosé. The bold taste of plums, cherry blossoms and strawberries are at the forefront and the finish is palatable.
Los Vascos Rosé
Los Vascos Rosé is a bright and clean wine that boasts undertones of chocolate. Its opulent richness adds depth to the nose whose aromas consist of strawberry, pomegranate and cherries. It is full-bodied and pairs well with spicy food.
We all know it is no secret that rosé is best when enjoyed outside on a beautiful patio. Lucky for us, Chicago’s oldest wine bar, Geja’s Café opened their stunning front patio at the beginning of spring and is showcasing each of these rosé wines on the exclusive “Tasting the World Through Rosé Colored Glasses” menu. You can sample these and other rosé offerings from around the world through the end of the summer. And while they are best known for their fondue style dining, the patio boasts a special menu with a variety of bite sized selections that pair well with rosé (and a ton of other delicious cocktails including Moët & Chandon’s newest champagne creation, Imperial Ice!). Will you embrace the pink bubbles this patio season?
West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614