Pinkies Mandatory for Summer?


So We are Told!

Robert K. Stephen (CSW)

I always am puzzled why the LCBO smothers us with Rosé wines in their summer Vintages releases. Are we trained dogs salivating for Rosés in the summer?

Rosés in my humble opinion should be year long wines.

Could it be that some LCBO bright lights think that red wine is unsummerish despite the obvious fact it can be chilled down a bit more to beat the heat?

Rosé wine should be a year long phenomena great in the autumn for fresh stuffed veggies Greek style, in the winter with ham and turkey and the spring with salmon or just about anytime for simple sipping.

In a LCBO June 23 Vintages release we are swamped with 15 Rosés. The four experts introducing these wines suggest food pairings that suit 365 days a year yet as summer disappear so do the Rosés on LCBO shelves?

Let me put my frustrations aside in the midst of the artificially induced demand for “summer Rosés” and check out a few of the wines in the release and in other releases.

The first is a brownish pink South African Kanonkop Kadette from the wickedly difficult Pinotage grape. Despite its limpish colour some decent aromatics of strawberry, watermelon, Red Delicious apple and cotton candy.

On the palate some prune, apricot, bacon and dates. Unlike many Rosé wines it is not choked by its own acidity. A bit of a bizarre butterscotch twist on the finish.

Short finish and not complex. I think this suits a pasta sauce made with summer tomatoes or stuffed red peppers from the field. Also suitable for rainbow trout filets with organic sweet potatoes fries tossed in turmeric, olive oil, salt and pepper.

A foodie Rosé. Just enough acid to take it towards food. Acceptable but hardly memorable.

(Kanonkop Kadette Dry Pinotage Rosé 2017, Wine of Origin Stellenbosch, Kanonkop Wine Estate Stellenbosch, South Africa, $13.95, 14%, LCBO # 553073, 750 mL, Square Media Group Rating 86/100).

When it comes to Rosé wine Ontario can really shine. Can the brashly named “Wildass” 2017 Rosé make Ontario proud?

In colour it is pink with brownish tinges.

On the nose mostly vibrant strawberries. There is also a bit of caramel and raspberries.

On the palate some watermelon and peaches. A light bit of acidity. Short finish. Lacks backbone and character.

Interesting that in addition to Cabernet Franc there is some Tempranillo, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

(Wildass 2017 Rosé, Stratus Vineyards, Niagara-On-The-Lake, 12.3%, $18.95, LCBO # 071712, 750 mL, Square Media Group Rating 86/100).

Back to Niagara with an Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rosé. Fluorescent in colour. On the nose lots of sweet red cherry with some beet puree and pomegranate.

Some cherry, strawberry and raspberry on the palate enveloped in a gentle acidity. Just a tiny bit of milk chocolate on the finish which is a short one. Not a wine to stand up and cheer about but a reliable one good with just about anything including grilled saltwater fish. It would also suit a curry. I would give it high marks with a tomato salad with light white Portuguese goat cheese and lots of basil.

(Inniskillin Niagara Estate Pinot Noir Rosé 2017, Inniskillin Wines, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, $13.95, 12.5%, 750 mL, Exclusive to Wine Rack Stores, Square Media Group Rating 86/100).

The deep pink “Twisted” from Flat Rock Cellars in Niagara gives forth of a promise of a full bodied and flavourful product. However, are looks deceiving here?

Impressive and confident aromas of watermelon, strawberry, peach, raspberry, cranberry and raspberry. On the palate the confidence continues with impressive and forceful bits of strawberry, sweet red cherry, peach pie with a bit of raspy acidity giving some force to what could be a wine overpowered by its fruitiness.

A mid weight wine not afraid to pull its punches. Not a 99-pound weakling or “delicate” as some may prefer to diplomatically call most limpish Rosés. Grilled chicken or salmon kabobs in peanut sauce will do quite nicely thank you.

(Pink Twisted 2017 Flat Rock Cellars, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Flat Rock Cellars, Jordan, Ontario, $17.95, 12.5%, 750 mL, LCBO # 39974, Square Media Group Rating 94/100).

The Cave Spring 2017 Rosé looks like another dark and dusky beauty. Darkish pink in colour. On the nose a rather tight and closed raspberry, graphite, white peach and strawberry melange. On the palate gentle acidity masking some high-toned cherry, watermelon and raspberry coulis.

While the Flat Rock Twisted is a fun-loving wine this is much more discrete but equally satisfying. After returning from Greece of late I am a great fan of Rosé. This one would accentuate grilled octopus or tender fried calamari.

People tend to be full of praise for Cave Spring Riesling but let’s not forget a round of applause for this Rosé.

(Cave Spring 2017 Rosé, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Cave Spring Cellars, Jordan, Ontario, $15.95, 11.5%, 750 mL, LCBO # 295006, Square Media Group Rating 94/100).

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write." Email Robert Stephen

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