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It’s definitely time to think pink: 7 Rosés from Ontario to B.C. to get your spring started


I knew Rosé-style wines had crossed that thin line between niche and mainstream a few years ago when I brought a few of bottles to my annual “boys golf weekend” in Collingwood.

To my surprise — and delight — the pink wines were a big hit with these burly boys and are now as much a part of the Father’s Day golf weekend as wayward drives and overdone steak. It’s an odd sight, to be sure, 50-plus guys heaving back Rosé instead of the usual Bud Lights.

Pink is perfect for spring, absolutely joyous in summer and delicious year-round. It’s simple, fresh and always one of the least expensive wines to buy. What’s not to like?

Today’s Rosés are made with just about any red grape or combination of grapes (even with white grapes added) and involve an early pressing of the grapes after a very short period of skin-contact (maceration), usually 12–24 hours.

The skin-contact gives Rosé wines their colour and provide some of the flavour components that makes these wines so delicious.

We have seen an explosion of Rosés from Canadian wine producers in myriad styles and flavours in recent years. And the colours, oh, my, the colours. They can range from light and pale to bright burgundy and raspberry coloured. Is there another style of wine so diverse? I think not.

The biggest difference from Rosé to Rosé is the varying degrees of sweetness — from bone dry to super sweet — and there just doesn’t seem to be any way of knowing what you’re getting by looking at the label. We need to work on that.

rose caps

Here are seven Rosés that I have tried recently and liked, from Niagara to B.C.

Haywire-Rose2010-High-Rescq5dam.web.1280.1280FortBerensRose11Chateau des Charmes Rosé Cuvee d’Andree 2014, Niagara ($15, 88 points) — With this release, Chateau des Charmes changes to a brighter, fresher label design on the front and a flavour chart on the back label that describes this wine as “medium-bodied and fruity” with no oak and “moderate” flavour intensity. It’s a guide for consumers, but I would prefer that the sweetness of the wine, or perceived sweetness, was added to the chart. This is a nice Rosé with a glowing pink hue and a fresh nose of strawberry, cranberry and raspberry. It feels relatively dry on the palate with a basket of red fruits in a vibrant style.

Haywire Secrest Mountain Vineyard Gamay Noir Rose 2014, Okanagan ($23, 89 points) — A pale salmon colour and fermented and aged in concrete tanks, the nose of this Rosé shows interesting strawberry, rhubarb and cherry with a subtle creamy note. It has wonderful texture, an elegant feel on the palate with notes of raspberry, rhubarb,  cherry and is fresh and lively through the finish.

Fielding Estate Rosé 2014, Niagara ($16, 88 points) — Lighter in colour with a nose of cherries, raspberry and an interesting cream soda accent. It’s made in a crisp, on the dry side, style with refreshing sweet-tart red fruits and refreshing acidity.

Fort Berens Pinot Noir Rosé 2014, Lillooet ($16, 87 points) — A bright pink hue made entirely from the estate’s Lillooet vineyard, this Pinot Noir Rosé shows strawberry, cherry and rhubarb with a nice earthy note on the nose. It’s meaty on the palate with red fruits and underbrush in a more masculine style. Nice and dry on the finish.

Henry of Pelham Rosé 2014, Niagara ($14, 88 points) — Henry of Pelham blends Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to deliver one of the darker-hued offerings here. It has a lovely nose of summery red fruits and just a touch of cranberry. It’s rich and ripe on the palate with juicy blackberry fruit and touches of raspberry and rhubarb through a refreshing finish.

Pink House Wine Co. Chardonnay Merlot 2014, Niagara ($13, 88 points) — An interesting blend of red and whites grapes with a big boppin’ nose of raspberry, bramble, cherry and a spicy note. The palate reveals expressive raspberry, sweet cassis, strawberry and cherry with just a kiss of spice.

Henry of Pelham Sibling Rivalry Pink 2014, Niagara ($14, 89 points) — The Sibling Rivalry blends Cabernet Sauvingon, Pinot Noir and Gamay for a personable nose of rich, red fruits that has fresh appeal. On the palate look for deep expressions of black cherry and raspberry that is quite bold but nicely balanced.