“For me, it’s all you can ask for in delicious rosé: crunchy, bright red berry fruit and quenching acidity,” John B. Patterson, food and beverage director of the Frankies Spuntino restaurant group, tells me. He’s preaching to the choir: When I first tasted Vincent Giraudon’s “Tentation” Rosé alongside a meal of spicy sausage that Frankies Spuntino was selling for home cooks this past spring, I found myself placing an order for several more bottles before I washed a single dish—this $18 wine is, quite simply, the only thing I want to drink this summer.
Giraudon’s rosé is 100% Gamay—a grape you might recognize, because it has made Beaujolais rightly famous. This grape gives you a rosé that’s cranberry-fresh and juicy—a touch more full in flavor than the pale, light, floral rosés of Provence. It has the heft to stand up to summer meals: grilled scallops, whole fish, sweet corn, lobster rolls, ripe tomato salads with creamy mozzarella. Perhaps this food-friendliness makes sense: Patterson tells me that Giraudon is “a chef by profession; that’s actually his day job.” He makes wine from a tiny plot of organic vines on the eastern border of the Loire, “snuggled close to Beaujolais.”
I sometimes think of rosé as the freshest possible wine—that tart, refreshing, chuggable stuff you thirst for as temperatures rise. But I asked sommelier Grant Reynolds why his shop, Parcelle, is selling a vintage that’s a few years old—the same one I saw on the list at Frankies. Thirst-quenching wines like rosé, Reynolds explains, need that tart sensation. “Acidity in rosé can dissipate over time, so for certain wines it’s best to drink them as early as possible, within one or two years of the release.” But “others,” Reynolds notes, “actually need a bit of time to mellow out, otherwise it can feel like you’re taking a shot of lemon juice. Gamay has a ton of acidity naturally, so the wine is a bit too sharp to drink when it’s first bottled. After an extra couple of years, it ages into being a perfectly balanced drink. The producer makes this in a style that’s meant to last, almost like a super light red, rather than the nearly white wine–style of rosé you find in other parts of France.”
That isn’t to say that this rosé lacks freshness or tartness. It makes me think of cranberry lemonade; after each sip, your mouth waters. In the background, there’s a quality that reads almost as smokiness—which means it’s right at home with grilled fare. But as I open bottle after bottle of my stash, I find it’s delicious with everything I want to eat right now: DIY temaki and sashimi; a snacky cheese plate with Marcona almonds and prosciutto; garlicky squid charred over a grill’s flames; a pile of feta, olives, and tomatoes; a simple Margherita pizza. I fear I may need to restock before summer’s halfway through.
$18.00, Parcelle Wine
Originally Appeared on Epicurious