The first midsummer night ros? menu, takeout Thai, was worthy of the new league of pink champions known as the Ros? Avengers and Producers. • These ros? fans and winemakers united a few years ago in San Francisco to win back ros?'s good name. They wanted to show that wine in silly salmon or cream-soda red still has guts and millennial fashion. "Goes with spicy Thai'' is a staple in their bragging (along with shellfish, salads, burgers and pizza). • Sure enough, a glass of Red Guitar's old vine ros? from Spain has sassy fun with duck salad and Panang curry's peanuts and shrimp.
With food, or solo
Another night I challenged ros?s to hold up against a wintry stew of carrots, potatoes and chunky lamb shanks braised in red wine and mushrooms. Too much? Not at all; pink drinks from Sicily, France and Australia are easy drinking mates, with enough flavor to match the lamb, crispness to cut the fat, and fruit to make a heavy meal smile with a light heart.
Ros? wines, made around the world and especially popular in lands of long, hot summers, put to rest the fuss about food and wine pairings. Wine, especially ros?, goes with food, period. For most food, ros? is a no-worries choice.
But who needs food to enjoy a glass? We and much of the world like ros? as a fresh, light afternoon drink, made for the back yard. We first fell for Mateus and Lancers from Portugal and then 25 years ago with white zinfandel. Those who "outgrew'' those sweeter pink wines should blush to hear that white zin still accounts for almost 10 percent of all wine sales in the United States.
Modern ros?s, however, are a much drier breed, like those of the Rhone and Provence, affordable, dry and perfect chilled in a cafe on a summer afternoon.
Wineries can make ros? from any red wine grape by removing the juice from crushed grape skins before they turn dark.
The French prefer Rhone grapes, as do Australians, but pinot noir, tempranillo and the wealth of Italian reds have all made lighter, rosier versions. In ros? Champagne, pinot noir makes a sparkler richer.
Love at first blush
Today, ros? sales of the dry kind are booming in the $6 and up category. Every big table wine brand, from Yellowtail and Red Truck to Fat Bastard, comes in pink.
Wine folks who formed Rose Avengers and Producers a few years ago were led by Jeff Morgan, who started a brand, SoloRosa, to focus on seriously good ros?: not $30, but wines well worth $8 to $15.
Member wineries — Clos Du Bois, Saintsbury, Iron Horse, Bogle, Fife, St. Francis and more — are united behind a cartoon logo of superheroes in pink capes.
If you're afraid to think pink, call them red wines you can stick in the fridge or ice cooler, room temperature be damned. Still can't say ros?? Bellow rosado or rosato, and make it rhyme with Tony Soprano. Fire up the grill, throw on burgers, brats and heads-on shrimp, pour out a big glass of ros?. Get real. Get pink.
Contact Chris Sherman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8585.