Spring has finally arrived. And with spring comes the start of rosé-sipping season. While it’s also served refreshingly chilled in the warmest months, rosé is really the perfect springtime wine. It’s lighter and brighter in taste than the Cabernets and Bordeaux traditionally enjoyed in the colder winter months but has more of a backbone and robust flavor profile than the chenin blancs and rieslings often reached for in high summer.
Many rosés possess notes that complement quintessential spring dishes, making good use of the fresh produce and seafood that begins to trickle into grocery stores and farmers markets at this time. So, with visions of ripe berries and aromatic herbs dancing through our heads, we turn to rosé expert and wine director of Usual wines, Tyler Kennedy, for suggestions on the dishes to pair with your first glass of rosé of the season.
Spring is the perfect time to plant tomatoes and herbs—even apartment dwellers can tend to their own little windowsill gardens and enjoy fresh basil. Light and slightly acidic rosé beautifully balances mild and creamy mozzarella and brings out the sweetness of the sliced, ripe tomatoes. It’s a really simple dish you can throw together when you get home from work or for a friend coming over to split a bottle of the pink stuff.
Just blanch and saute some fresh and delicious first-of-the-season asparagus in butter, plate the spears and top with a soft-boiled egg before sprinkling on some crunchy salt and maybe even some everything bagel seasoning. The verdant flavors of the asparagus pair perfectly with rosé wine as the crisp notes of rhubarb and green strawberry found in many of them complement the vegetable whilst the acidity and freshness juxtaposes the with the creamy, rich egg yolk.
Slurping fresh oysters in the sunshine with a bottle of rosé makes for a dream-worthy weekend afternoon. Make your own mignonette with red wine or champagne vinegar because let’s be honest: few things go better with wine than more wine. If raw oysters aren’t your thing, try baking them with spicy miso butter. Again, rosé is the wine to reach for—bridging the gap between red and white wine, rosé has just enough chutzpah to stand up to strong umami flavors and plenty of refreshing chill to counter spicy or vinegary flavors as well.
Seafood Salad-Stuffed Avocado
Prepare your favorite shrimp or crab salad and let it chill before generously filling the space left behind from the pit in a halved avocado with your salad, drizzling it all with olive oil and some Maldon salt and pouring a glass of rosé. The light freshness of the wine will cut through the creamy textures and flavors of the fatty avocado and shrimp or crab, while the vegetal notes from the crunchy celery and aromatic dill blend harmoniously with the crisp notes in the wine.
Strawberries and Cream
If you’re lucky enough to live near a local strawberry farm that allows you to go and pick them yourself, definitely get out there. Even if you don’t, get a hold of some young little strawberries and top them with sweet cream. You can muddle them and pour your rosé over them, or keep your wine on the side. The subtle berry notes in many rosés, especially those with flavors of green strawberries, complement the ripe berries in your bowl and will cut through the rich sweetness of the cream for the perfect springtime sweet treat.