Cline Mouvèdre rosé ($12) California
Welcome to the 10th annual Advocate rosé column, where — despite the changes in the wine business over the past decade and even though the wine wise guys insist that rising prices are just around the corner — you can still buy a pretty good rosé for $10.
In this, rosé is close to the perfect cheap wine. It’s fresh and easy to drink, pairs with almost any kind of food, and its style means that it’s easier to make well than cheap red wines. What else do you need to know about rosé?
• Rosé isn’t white zinfandel (or white merlot or whatever). Rosés are pink wines made with red grapes, and they aren’t sweet. Why are they pink? Because the red grape skins are left in the fermenting grape juice just long enough to color the wine (which is how all wine gets its color, actually).
• Rosés’ fruit flavors are mostly red berries, like strawberry or cranberry, and sometimes even watermelon. Rosés should be served chilled, and if you put an ice cube in, no one will tell the wine police.
• Don’t buy old rosé. Look for 2011, and be careful with anything dated before 2010. Rosés are not made to age, and go bad quickly.
What should you drink? The Yalumba ($10) is an Australian rosé with flavors of mango and lemon, believe it or not, and just 11.5 percent alcohol. It’s as close to a perfect New World rosé as you’re going to find. The Cline Mouvèdre ($12) is one of the best California rosés I’ve tasted in years, bone dry and not much fruit (maybe some cranberry) and a longish mineral finish — more French in style than Californian. The Falesco ($10) is one of my all-time favorites, made by one of Italy’s great producers, with strawberry fruit and a soft elegance.
Ask the wine guy
Why don’t Americans drink more rosé?
Two reasons: They confuse it with white zinfandel, and think it’s sweet. Or they don’t think it’s real wine, something inferior to a red wine. It is different, of course, but it’s supposed to be — bright fruit and no tannins.
Ask The Wine Guy firstname.lastname@example.org
With your wine
Mushroom and ham soufflé
Soufflés befuddle most of us, even though they’re just a fancy version of a baked omelet. This is made without fancy equipment. But if the directions still seem intimidating, just sauté the vegetables, mix with the eggs, and bake in a 375° oven for 20-30 minutes until the eggs set. Any rosé is a wonderful match with this.
3 egg yolks, 5 egg whites
4 oz chopped ham
1 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c fresh bread crumbs
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 c chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1. Sauté the mushrooms in olive oil. When soft, remove from pan and set aside.
2. Use butter to grease the sides of a 6-cup gratin dish that is about 1 1/2 inches deep. Mix the bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons of the parmesan, and use half of the mixture to coat the sides and bottom of the gratin dish. Shake out the excess.
3. Heat the canola oil in the sauté pan and then add the flour. Mix with a whisk over medium to high heat for a minute or so, and then add the stock and salt and pepper. Keep whisking until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and add the egg yolks, whisking well. Mix in the mushrooms and ham.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are firm but still soft. Fold the egg whites into the sauce mixture, along with the remaining 5 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Pour this mixture into the prepared gratin dish, and sprinkle the top with the remaining bread crumb mixture,
5. Bake in a 375° oven for 30-35 minutes, until the soufflé is puffy and brown. It should be set inside, but still a little moist. Spoon onto plates, and serve immediately.
Serves four, takes about 45 minutes