Ah, nothing like being on the patio in the summer sun, enjoying a fine French Rosé. But it’s the middle of winter. Should you banish all thoughts of drinking these delightfully dry wines until the temperature rises to sweat-inducing levels? Never! If pork, turkey, chicken, seafood, and/or vegetables recently graced your table, odds are that a rosé would be a welcome addition. Particularly a Bordeaux Clairet, a wine you should get to know.
In France, rosé is made by soaking red grapes in their white juice until the skins give the desired level of color and flavor. I must admit a bias to French rosé that is pale and austere. Usually when I see a darker colored rosé, I run. I expect it to be sweet or, if dry, to be lacking in the zesty acidity I find so refreshing and delightful in a rosé.
I, however, had to set aside my horrible bias when confronted by a wine with the label Bordeaux Clairet. It exists in a separate world between pink and red wine. I think of these wines as the red wine drinker’s rosé. Or your winter rosé. If I could drink a rosé on a snow-covered patio, it would be this one. The extra time the grape skins stay in contact with the juice give it not just color but a little extra brawn. What surprised me about the Chateau de Parenchere, my first experience with a Bordeaux Clairet, was that it also had enough zip on the finish to keep me coming back for more. While I could think of many fancy-pants food matches for this wine, a cheeseburger sounds just about perfect.
Even though I may still have an ingrained reflex to cower in fear at the sight of a too-dark rosé, I welcome the presence of a Bordeaux Clairet.
Full disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.
Snow photo courtesy Steve Parker.