Just like it’s no longer necessary to stop wearing white pants on Tumbleweed Tuesday, there’s a rightful place at the table for rosé long after the beach blankets are packed up for the season. In fact, Christopher Tracy, winemaker and partner at Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton, insists many can pair perfectly with the gamut of holiday dishes, from roast turkey to pecan pie.
“Pink wines in all their styles and hues are some of the most versatile wines around,” Tracy says. “They accompany foods year-round and can be approached as either fun, serious or both. It is all in the eyes, mouths and noses of the beholder.”
The reason rosé works so well at the table is it’s one-two punch of two important factors in versatile food-friendliness: acidity (red grapes bound for rosé are typically picked a little earlier when their acid levels are on the upswing) plus varying levels of exposure to grape skins, where all those grippy tannins live, when the fruit is crushed. And if all that acid-tannin mumbo-jumbo sounds a little too technical? Here’s all you need to know: Rosé is darned delicious for Thanksgiving.
Think about what cranberry sauce does on your plate. That fruity-tart piquancy is a balance to all that delicious but heavy food. That’s what rose, does, too.
Before finding his calling as a winemaker, Tracy was a sous chef who graduated first in his class from French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. To him, the act of pairing wine and food is about what the wine does to the palate. But he’s still got some faves. Here, Tracy shares his favorite rosés for holiday courses and tips for making your menu.
Sure, butter boards are big these days, but a charcuterie board with a variety of cheese and cured meats makes for a more approachable adventure for a crowd. Tracy recommends looking for a wine with a “dry, wild berry profile with great acidity to wash your palate and keep you reaching for the salumi.”
At Channing Daughters, the Rosato Refosco fits that bill. Its notes of blackberries and black raspberries give it a crisp, dry taste. And, though appearance isn’t everything, the light, jewel-toned color epitomizes “pretty in pink” and adds an element of style to your table.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
A soup starter is more than appetizing on a cold winter night — it’s essential. If you’re serving East End fave, Manhattan clam chowder, to guests as part of a holiday meal, it presents a bit of a challenge: The red broth typically pairs better with red vino, but we typically go light for seafood.
Rosé to the rescue. Tracy suggests opting for a rosé made from Cabernet Franc grapes. Notes like “zesty” and “refreshing” catch Tracy’s approval when he’s pairing wine with this soup and can stand up to the mixed flavor profile.
Salad with Blue Cheese, Cranberries and Apple Slices
Salads like this one contain tons of different flavors. The cranberries and blue cheese are tart, the apples are sweet and the lettuce is crisp, making wine pairing a bit of a conundrum. It calls for something versatile, like a rosé made with Merlot grapes.
These wines are typically “plump, juicy, dry and fruity and will cut through the blue cheese, match the cranberry fruit character and pair with the sweetness and the acidity of the apples,” Tracy says.
Turkey takes center table on Thanksgiving and often does again in many homes during Thanksgiving. The bird typically produces light and dark meats, so it’s versatile when it comes to wine pairing. But the sides often lean heavier.
Enter a rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, like the Channing Daughters Rosato Cabernet Sauvignon. “It’s great with a roast bird,” Tracy says. “It has old-vine fruit with great balance and juiciness. It’s dry, versatile and goes well with turkey and all the accompaniments.”
Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, squash—roasting vegetables brings out a beautiful savoriness, and can be tossed with myriad extras, from nuts to crispy bacon to caramelized onions to freshly grated parmesan.
While the sky’s the limit on what you may fancy with veggie-centric dishes, we love Channing Daughters Rosato di Syrah. At once fruity, spicy and floral, it catches all the flavors you throw at it with gorgeously balanced aplomb.
If there’s one season to say yes to dessert, it’s the holidays. And pies like a classic pecan boast a sweetness worth toasting to. Tracy loves to pair a sparkling wine with a pie like this, like his Rosato Merlot-Lagrein Petillant Naturel.
When making your selection, Tracy recommends choosing a wine with “a touch of residual sugar to pair with the pecan pie.” And the bubbles aren’t just there for decoration. “Bubbles make it better, and the refreshing acidity and fruit character will pair perfectly with the pie while keeping it lighter and helping you finish it all!,” Tracy says.