As the Wine Director for MARC U.S., one of the country’s top restaurant groups, Olivier Flosse oversees cellars at eateries like New York City’s A Voce Columbus (a two-time winner of Wine Enthusiast’s Best Wine Restaurant award) and Boston’s Bistro du Midi. Suffice it to say he knows a thing or two about good wine.
We asked the native Frenchman to school us on summer’s favorite sip—rosé. While he has a penchant for the pink stuff produced in his homeland, he also embraces out-of-the-box offerings. Here are his expert tips!
Mix it in Cocktails.
“I created a cocktail called Rosé Crush three years ago because I love rosé—it’s elegant, perfect for warm weather and it’s mostly inexpensive. My drink is easy to make, fruit-forward and incredibly refreshing. But no matter what you mix it with, the key is to use quality ice. I call it magic ice: a single, large sphere made with bottled water. This ice gives the drink length, and it allows for slow enjoyment without diluting flavors.”
2 mint sprigs, divided
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce cherry juice
½ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces rosé
1 cherry, for garnish
Muddle one mint sprig with the fruit juices and simple syrup. Add rosé, and strain over ice sphere in a martini glass. Garnish with cherry and remaining mint sprig.
Reach for the dry rosé.
“Don’t just go for the current vintage when drinking dry rosé. You can save money on past vintage without losing quality. There are excellent options from the South of France and Sicily, and these dry rosés pair very well with food. Grilled fish with olive oil and a glass of rosé is the beginning of a great day. It’s really a friendly wine in all aspects.”
Splurge on rosé Champagne.
“You’ll spend more, but this is the crème de la crème of rosé. This crop of rosé is excellent whether you’re enjoying oysters, sitting on a terrace taking it all in, or eating a panini on the beach. Go straight to the top and buy Champagne rosé with a little bit of age. It’s worth it—trust me.”
What is this pretty pink drink?
When a wine isn’t quite red and it’s definitely not white, it’s rosé. The most common black grape varieties (either alone or blended) used to make dry rosé are Grenache, Sangiovese, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault and Pinot Noir. There are some blush, sweet rosés that have added sugar.
How is rosé made?
There are four ways to make rosé, and in all cases oak is rarely used. Direct pressing is a method in which black grapes are crushed and pressed (the same way as in white wine production), extracting little color from the grape skins and thus producing a delicately colored rosé. In the drawing off method, red grapes are processed as in red winemaking, and once fermentation is underway (when the magic happens), the juice is drawn off and further fermented at cool temperatures to retain fruit flavors. The longer the wine remains in contact with the skin, the deeper the color. Saignee (sen-YAY, or “bled”) is similar to drawing off, except that a portion of the juice is removed and the rest remains in contact with the skins to produce red wine. In this process, rosé is a by-product. The last (and generally less respected) way is to simply blend white wine with red to make pink. These typically sweeter pink wines are blushes, and usually have added sugar.
How should it be served?
Rosé is best served slightly warmer than white wine, between 48–53°F, because of its complex fruit flavor and mild tannins. Since rosés can be produced from a number of varieties with different characteristics, the same rule as light, dry whites applies: the lighter in color and style it is, the more chilled it should be. Keep it in fridge for up to 1½ hours before popping it open. Opt for a stemmed glass with a bowl that’s slightly tapered at the top for mature, full-bodied rosés. A slightly flared lip benefits younger, crisper and fruiter rosés. The lip directs the flavors to the tip of the tongue, where taste buds are most sensitive.
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