Pretty in Pink: The Continued Rise of Rosé in the Northwest

 Picture by Amy L. Dickson: Beckham Estate Vineyards 2014 Oregon rosé made from pinot noir; $12/glass at Heartwood Provisions.

Picture by Amy L. Dickson: Beckham Estate Vineyards 2014 Oregon rosé made from pinot noir; $12/glass at Heartwood Provisions.

Earlier this week I wandered into Heartwood Provisions in downtown Seattle and was handed a short happy hour menu at the bar. A quick scan left me defeated: “What? No rosé on the glass pour menu?” The bartender laughed and said, “Actually, we have two!”

My kind of place.

The sun has returned full force to the Pacific Northwest and with it, rosé season. If we were in Europe right now, positively everyone would be sipping cool glasses of blushy wine. And while the Northwest may be well known for peppery syrah, hearty cabs, and inky malbecs, we can use those gorgeous grapes to make rosé.

Once maligned and misunderstood, (a colleague of mine went so far as to say he would never understand why people like to mix red and white wine together?!?!?), rosé is going through a renaissance in North America. No longer confused with the sweet, cloying horror that is white zinfandel, rosé is a sophisticated drink. A pleasurable drink. Here are a few solid reasons why it’s easy to drink pink these days:

1. Rosé wines, whether imported from Europe or home grown in the PNW, are fairly affordable. Sometimes very affordable. The French import I’ve been scooping up weekly at Fred Meyer comes in at $8.99 and is lovely on its own or as a base for an orange and pomegranate sangria.

2.    The balanced acidity means that rosé plays nicely with so many foods, especially ones you want to eat on a warm summer day: salami, salmon, olives, grilled vegetables, prosciutto, and melon…the list goes on and is ideal for a picnic.

3.    When you buy a bottle of rosé, you have a fairly good idea of what it will taste like. They range from fruity to savory, but flavors like melon, strawberry, and sometimes a little bit of pepper can all be in there.

4.    There’s no need to keep these pretty bottles in the cellar — they don’t really get better with age, so enjoy immediately.

5.    Rosé can be made in any wine-growing region of the world, so the supply is definitely there, even though most rosé wines still come from France.

Not sure about rosé? Maybe you’d like to try a few first? You’re not alone and that’s why Seattle Uncorked’s 14th Annual Rosé Revival event sells out nearly every year. Held at Ray’s Boathouse on the evening of May 26, 2016, you can take in the sunset as you sample wines from more than 30 northwest and international wineries debuting their summer favorites. 

Find something you like? There’s a wine store on site for you to buy. General admission tickets are only $35 and VIP access is $50. All proceeds from the event support Save Our Wild Salmon.

I’ve attended in years past and have always come away with new or interesting bottles. I’d say they are down in my cellar, but I’d be lying — it’s time for me to go stock up for summer as well.

See you there and Salud!

 Past Rosé Revival photo by  Nityia Design

Past Rosé Revival photo by Nityia Design

  Past   Rosé Revival   photo by   Nityia Design

Past Rosé Revival photo by Nityia Design

  Past   Rosé Revival   photo by     Nityia Design

Past Rosé Revival photo by Nityia Design

Amy L. Dickson is a communications professional, freelance writer, and contributor to Rain or Shine Guides. She’s currently training at the NW Wine Academy for her Level 1 sommelier certification. Follow her at @amyldickson75.