Northside SF  

October '09

Oenophilic Tendencies
Drinking the world through rose-colored glasses

By Jeannine Sano

With the arrival of June, when tomato season starts, baseball season is in full swing, and the sun hangs in the sky a little bit longer each evening, I start thinking about rosé wine. Now that the 2009 rosés are hitting the wine-store shelves, there are so many different yet delicious styles and regions to choose from, I get giddy and greedy at the possibilities. Even though my favorites tend to be the salmon-hued variety from the Provençe region in southern France, (such as Château Paradis, Château Pradeaux, and then the king of them all, Domaine Tempier), I love tasting rosés from producers and regions around the world, including Pinot Noir rosés from Sonoma, Cabernet Sauvignon rosés from South Africa, and Txakolina rosés from Spain.

Truth be told, I actually drink rosés year-round because they are wallet friendly as well as food friendly. There are plenty of tasty selections available at $10 or less per bottle, with “splurge” selections at about $20 per bottle, which translates to approximately $30–$40 in restaurants. (Note: this price range generally refers only to still rosés. I also adore sparking rosés, but that price range can be quite a bit heftier.) The acidity and fruit of rosé wine provides an easy wine complement to almost every food, including most of my summertime favorites like pizza, burgers and fried chicken. Especially since I also love eating these items year-round, rosé wines are the gastronomic equivalent of the ideal accessory for every outfit.

Marlowe Restaurant near the Caltrain station, which is rapidly becoming one of the hottest tickets in town due to chef Jennifer Puccio’s addictive bacon-cheeseburger and fries with horseradish aioli, offers two rosés on its wine list, a Provençe rosé at $9/glass and a Cabernet Franc rosé from Saumur in Loire Valley for $33/bottle. I can’t help but order the Saumur rosé every time I manage to squeeze in to Marlowe for my burger fix. The distinctive hint of bell pepper and characteristic herbaceous notes of the Cabernet Franc varietal, balancing the sweet fruit of the rosé, also match the hot and boozy shrimp as well as the decadent bone marrow with crostini, caper salsa verde and herb salad.

Little Skillet, also in South of Market, offers fried chicken that gives Ad Hoc a run for its money, at a fraction of the cost. I do not care what I am doing to my arteries; I always get the eight-piece chicken box with house-made biscuits, coleslaw and potato salad. Pick up any rosé from K&L wines nearby, take it all home, and enjoy a ridiculously scrumptious living room picnic.

Pizzeria Picco in Larkspur understands that rosé is perfect any time of the year, just like Picco’s perfect pizzas. Currently Picco offers two rosés, one from Provençe called Les Domaniers from the famous Domaine Ott (less pricey than the more expensive Ott in the genie bottle and without the annoying oak, which should never ever touch rosé) and a rounder yet equally delectable Mourvedre rosé from Cline Cellars. Try either one with the house-made salumi, the unsurpassed margherita pizza, or my latest favorite, the Surly, a cheeseless pizza with clams, sopressata and Calabrian chiles. 

Summer has officially arrived. Let’s drink to that. Rosé, anyone? 


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