Aspen Times Weekly: Pretty in Pink
If there is an official color for summer it is surely pink. Soft pink sunsets, hot pink bikinis and pink rosé wines all are staples of this, the best of seasons.
It seems the folks over at The Little Nell share my affection for pink as they have launched a Monday offering to the drinking public affording them the opportunity to consume the wines of summer at a bargain price.
Sit down for lunch on the patio at The Nell’s element 47 on a Monday between 12:30 and 2 p.m., order lunch, and for $12 you’ll get what they call a “bottomless” pour of rosé. In my dictionary “bottomless” means, “as much as you would like.” But if you don’t get your fill, or if you want to give it another go after a nap on a Monday afternoon (sounds good, right?), head to the Ajax Tavern, where on Mondays between 6 and 10 in the evening the same $12 bottomless pour is offered with a dinner entrée.
Now in some cases the all-you-can-eat or drink for one price approach means that you’ll get quantity with a reduction in quality. But there is no way that Carlton (Aspen’s newest master sommelier), Jonathan, Sabato, Chubby, or any of The Nell’s fine wine folks, are going to scrimp on the good juice. It is simply not in their DNA to give guests anything less than a great experience. Even if you sip just one glass, at $12 you will have been treated to a peak pink experience.
Rosé is suddenly the hottest wine on the planet. While rosé from the Old World has historically tended to be drier (less sweet) than those from the New World, in this day and age, where winemakers are exploring all manner of winemaking techniques, that is changing. Made just about everywhere on the planet (the Italians call it Rosato, the Portuguese and Spanish, Rosado), and from just about every red grape (Grenache, Syrah, Trousseau, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and about a thousand others), rosé is accessible, abundant and affordable.
Accessible because rosé is not a complicated wine. It is fresh, cool and easy to drink. The flavors generally are light and floral on the nose. The alcohol is not high and the complexity is more a paperback novel than a Tolstoy tome. Sip and repeat, and generally you will understand what is in the glass.
Affordable because it doesn’t take a lot of money to make, once you have great grapes. Rosé is meant to be drunk young so there is no need for extensive and expensive aging. The best rosé is made simply and direct. Pressed, bled or macerated, the juice ferments, the wine is bottled and it is sent out within scant months of harvest.
Abundant because last year’s record grape harvest on the West Coast has brought a plethora of rosé to wine shops across the land. Lots of grapes gave winemakers the opportunity to make lots of wine and that meant that there was a chance to do some things they might not do in a tighter harvest season — rosé, chief amongst them.
This year you will see wine lists that feature nearly as many bottles of rosé as they do white wines. This mirrors French drinkers who actually drink more rosé than they do white wine. And it’s not just for ladies any more. As American wine drinkers become more sophisticated, exposed to different wine styles and more tuned to subtlety than power, rosé will become, I believe, a staple of our wine scene.
All the more reason to head to The Nell for a Monday rosé repast.
Kelly J. Hayes lives in the soon-to-be-designated appellation of Old Snowmass with his wife, Linda, and a black Lab named Vino. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Wine Ink columnist Kelly J. Hayes goes deep on the 2021 wine harvest with Matt Crafton, head winemaker at Napa’s iconic Chateau Montelena.