As soon as cold winter days give way to the warmer ones of spring, I’m quick to trade in a glass of red for something pink.
I’d compare my excitement to spotting those first flower buds in my neighborhood—it means those coveted long summer days are on horizon, and happy hours feel even happier. I’m not alone in these sentiments, either. “Rosé consumption is at an all-time high right now,” Robert Daugherty, resident winemaker at Winc, says. “It’s a summer favorite, because it’s light, crisp, and refreshing.”
By the time summer rolls around, I’m used to pouring a glass of rosé sometime in the late afternoon. But Daugherty says that there’s no reason to wait for happy hour if I want to indulge responsibly. This beverage pairs well with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert—a fact he’s excited to point out—so it’s actually possible to drink rosé all day.
But what exactly makes for a good glass of rosé, and what’s the best way to sip and eat from morning to night? I asked Daugherty to give me all the details, including his favorite meals to pair with the nearest bottle.
First, Look for a True Rosé
“Good rosé is hard to make,” Daugherty says. “It requires hitting precise picking windows in the vineyard and precise techniques in the winery.” Though some winemakers blend white and red, he makes it clear that this isn’t true rosé.
If you want to drink the real stuff, look for wines that get their gentle pink color from the skins of the grapes. These wines tend to be light, dry, and aromatic with natural acidity. “Tasting notes you’ll probably notice include melon, peach, rose and citrus,” Daugherty explains.
Some of Daugherty favorite bottles include Summer Water Rosé—a well crafted wine with a high quality-to-price ratio—and Wonderful Wine Co. Rosé—a delicious option with bright acidity that happens to be naturally low sugar.
If You Want to Start Early
“Rosé is extremely food-friendly, since it’s light and refreshing and helps to cleanse your palate,” he says. Maybe this doesn’t mean that you should pair rosé with a simple bowl of cereal—although you do you—but to pick out this bottle over a more common Champagne label the next time you have a fancier breakfast. His picks? Eggs Benedict or smoked salmon.
If You’re In the Mood for a Mid-Day Treat
Summer-friendly fare like oysters, ceviche, and salads are all classic options, but for something a little more unexpected, Daughtrey says that you shouldn’t rule out heavier dishes, either. The lightness of a rosé will act as a deliciously tart foil.
“I like to enjoy a good pastrami sandwich with a glass for lunch,” he says.
If You’re Keeping Dinner Plans
Since it’s much more common to sip rosé around sunset than at any other point, this is a good chance to try out a new label to switch things up. For instance, if you normally gravitate toward citrus notes, try some that taste more like a melon. Use your menu as a guide to choose what to try next, and either complement or contrast it.
“A few of my go-tos for dinnertime are a charcuterie board, a chicken or niçoise salad, and barbecue,” Daugherty says. For dessert, he recommends rhubarb pie or a chocolate lava cake for that same contrast-or-complement result.
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