Nothing quite says summer heat like a good rosé. It’s the wine I reach for when I’m hot and parched but still want wine. While I’d almost always prefer a good red, in the heat of the summer, when the ambient outdoor temperature will warm a glass of red before you get through a few sips, I will often look for a wine I can still chill. Yes, I love my beer with good barbecue, but a good rosé is an awesome wine to pair with certain barbecue like chicken, salmon, veggie kabobs. Use your imagination, but it’s a wine that generally likes a bit of char and a bit of sweet. In other words, it likes caramelization.
While rosés become ubiquitous as the seasons change and are especially popular among those that don’t really like wine (god forbid), really good rosés are somewhat rare. Too many, in my opinion, are simply sugar bombs with a bunch of strawberry or other red fruit that explode in your mouth and serve as flavour. In other words, many drink like grape juice with alcohol. Finding something with structure to the flavour profile can be hard to find. It’s like the difference between great gelato and cheap ice cream: the ice cream uses sugar as a surrogate and replacement for real flavour ingredients.
So here’s a winery in Karlo Estates which is certainly the favourite of my amazing friends and I when we visit Prince Edward County, a headland that juts out into Lake Ontario and Bay of Quinte. It is the one place our group always hits when we make our annual pilgrimage to the “County,” aka PEC. And, like the acronym sounds, it is like a peck on the cheek every time we visit. Everything about this winery is a joy to visit, from the building itself, to the people working there, to the property itself and the mortarless bridge that crowns the back-forty and adorns the wines’ label … and, of course, the wine itself.
Karlo Estates has a great many wines that I love, including some thick and very very rich reds that are special, indeed. But if votes counted, I don’t think there is a member of my group of friends that wouldn’t pick up at least one bottle of Karlo’s rosé. If you ever were looking for a crowd-pleaser of a wine, this is surely it. And at $16, it will fit into almost any budget.
Produced of the very hardy Frontenac-Gris, it’s a grape that doesn’t lend itself to being much ‘whiter’ than you see here. A taste of this rusty, almost strawberry-juice, looking wine is like drinking dessert. Like the label says: “The nose is strawberry-sweet with rhubarb, cherry and candy apple. The flavour is just as enticing, exuding flavours such as strawberry, citrus with a spicy finish and a hint of cinnamon.” Honestly, I can’t really disagree except to add that there is also some sweet watermelon in there as well.
Overall, the sweetness rounds out the middle of the taste with a refreshing, mouth cleansing finish which makes this perfect for your deck, cottage, or bocce ball with friends. Just be careful you have enough for everyone.
- Price: $16.00
- Alcohol: 12.5%
- Sweetness: 2
- Appellation/Origin: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
- Where to buy: Special order
- Food Pairing: Doesn’t need food but phenomenal would be a spinach salad with fresh strawberries, barbecue chicken, or even a fragrant Thai curry.
Rating: 88/100 (though in its class, I’d rate it even higher)