Rosé Isn’t Just for Summer: Pink Pairings for Cold Weather

Drink Features rosé wine
Rosé Isn’t Just for Summer: Pink Pairings for Cold Weather

Spring and summer are generally regarded as rosé season, so once the weather starts cooling off, many drinkers reach for the reds, disregarding pink wines until it’s nice enough to have a picnic again. This, wine lovers, is a grave mistake. Rosé has been unfairly pigeonholed as a seasonal beverage when it should be enjoyed year-round, and to force yourself to drink a Cabernet when you’re really craving pink Provence is a dinner table tragedy.

At its core, rosé is versatile, easy to drink, delicious. Its sippability makes it a hit during the warmer months of the year when the thought of throwing back a bold Syrah makes you nauseous, but that same approachability is just as enjoyable in the depths of winter. Whether you’re picking out some bottles to share with friends at your next party or you’re just looking for a bottle to open for a weeknight dinner, these fall cold-weather rosé pairings may just get you thinking about rosé in a new light.

McCollum Heritage 91 2022 Rosé with Cured Meats

I love a wine that’s easy to drink but still displays plenty of character, and the Willamette Valley’s McCollum Heritage 91’s 2022 Rosé ($33) is just that. After fermenting in stainless steel, 15% of the Pinot Noir juice was aged in neutral oak barrels for two months, which is a winemaking technique that can add texture and complexity to an otherwise fruity wine. That fruitiness still comes through, of course, tinged with some salinity that keeps this dry wine refreshing.

This light, refreshing flavor profile renders it perfect for summertime sipping, but it’s also what I want when I’m tucking into some cured meats pre-dinner. The extra complexity from the oak aging helps it stand up to fattier types of cured meat but won’t ruin your palate with bold tannins before you even get to the main course.

Chateau d’Aqueria 2022 Tavel Rosé with Brothy Mushroom Soup

Tavel, found in France’s southern Rhône valley, is known for its darker-colored rosés, which can be a great option during the colder months of the year. Chateau d’Aqueria 2022 Tavel’s dark pink color looks almost like it’s bordering on a light red, and its strawberry and raspberry notes accompanied by a distinct pepperiness makes it a good match for a brothy mushroom soup (like Alison Roman’s recipe). This wine, made from a mix of Grenache, Syrah, Clairet and Cinsault grapes has a long, powerful finish for a rosé; it’s a great way to get acquainted with the style that Tavel can offer.

Knapp Winery 2022 Rose Saignée with Duck Breast

Some drinkers feel like a light, pale rosé is too delicate, too understated, for fall and winter. For those drinkers, saignée is the perfect winter rosé. After the red grapes are crushed, some of the juice is allowed to “bleed off” (“saignée” literally means “to bleed”), after which it ferments on its own. Because the juice stays in contact with the seeds and skins for a longer period of time than most lighter rosés, the result is a deeper colored, more intense wine.

Knapp Winery’s 2022 Rose Saignée ($22) offers this kind of subtle boldness. This wine, which hails from the Finger Lakes of New York, is made with Saperavi, Arandell, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes and has enough acidity to contend with duck breast. Add some cranberry sauce to your duck if you want a brighter dish; it’ll play well with the grapefruit notes in the wine.

Caruso & Minini Grillo Late Harvest Tagos 2018 with Halloween Candy

The other wines mentioned on this list are dry, but if you tend toward the sweeter end of the spectrum, Caruso & Minini’s Grillo Late Harvest Tagos 2018 from Sicily is a great wine to try. The grapes are dried on the vine until they’ve shriveled, which concentrates their sugars. Once they’re vinified, it results in a sweet wine with notes of honey and cinnamon and an exceptionally long finish. Drier wines can often buckle under the weight of sweet desserts, but a wine this sweet will hold up to cheeses, baked goods and even, yes, Halloween candy. Personally, I think it pairs especially well with an Almond Joy.

Samantha Maxwell is a food writer and editor based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @samseating.

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