3 Things to Drink This Summer Instead of Rosé

published Jun 13, 2019
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Has rosé jumped the shark? While the good stuff will always be quintessential summer refreshment, the excitement is waning just a little bit.

So if you’ve emerged from a several-summers-long pink haze and you’re kind of looking around, blinking, wondering what’s next, here are a few ideas. One is a relatively new hybrid-style beverage, and two are based on historic wine styles that might just be ready for their moment in the sun — but probably not as product placement on Vanderpump Rules. And they’re all great matches for summer foods that call for something a little more robust than a pale-pink rosé.

Credit: Diane McMartin

1. Hybrids

There’s a Chilling Adventures of Sabrina joke about intermarriage and hybrids being the future in there, but whether or not that’s true, brewers and winemakers have been blurring the lines between wine and beer for a few years now, and why not?

Rosalie is “the rosé-lover’s beer” from Firestone Brewery. Firestone got its start on the property of the Firestone Vineyard, and its first beers were fermented in wine barrels, so the wine connection here isn’t new. Rosalie is a co-ferment of white wine grapes from Castoro Winery in Paso Robles (Chardonnay is the largest proportion of the blend, along with Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Orange Muscat, and Muscat Canelli) with a beer base in a light Pilsner style. The pretty color comes from hibiscus flowers, and it doesn’t hurt that the cans are adorable.

The fact that its 5% ABV is nice too, sitting at less than half of the alcohol percentage of most actual rosés, making it a good choice for summer situations where you’re sweating and possibly not drinking as much water as you should be. Not that this should be a substitute.

This tangy, fizzy, grapefruit-inflected wine/beer hybrid would be great with fish tacos or fried chicken, and, ideally, bare feet.

Credit: Diane McMartin

2. Nebbiolo Nouveau

The slightly fizzy J.C. Claré Langhe Nebbiolo is made by the famous Barolo producer G.D. Vajra, and has some of the same intensely fruity vibes as Beaujolais Nouveau — but in a more sophisticated, Italian package.

The winemaking here follows historical instructions from 1606, and it’s a fascinating window into how wines from this era must have tasted. There is a touch of fruity sweetness here, along with flavors of tart cherries and a hint of pepper. If the sweetness scares you, try pairing it with food that’s salty, fatty, and/or spicy. It’s best chilled but not quite as ice cold as, say, you’d drink Pinot Grigio.

According to Giuseppe Vajra, it’s “a wine for people who are young, brave at heart, and curious about Piemonte forgotten past.” If you can’t track this wine down and you like the idea of a fresh, chilled red with some bubbles, try Gragnano, a style of red that comes from the Sorrento Peninsula outside of Naples. It’s much foamier than the Clare, but they are in the same spiritual family.

Credit: Diane McMartin

3. Pipeño

Vina Maitia Aupa Pipeño from the Southern Maule region of Chile is a throwback to a rustic style of wine called Pipeño. It’s a light, fruity, unpretentious style unique to winemaking areas of Chile, and a few producers like Viña Maitia are bringing it back in a slightly cleaned-up form.

There are a lot of warm-weather-friendly dishes that don’t fit into a neat wine category. One of these is the entrée salad with red meat, like this Thai Steak Salad. It’s a salad, with tart dressing and lots of soft, aromatic herbs, but it’s also got steak with a bit of char. Honestly white wine is just fine here, but if the idea of drinking white wine with steak just doesn’t feel right, a light red like this blend of 80% Mission or Pais and 20% Carignan is perfect. It’s also got some floral, heady aromas, so it’s great with anything that involves fragrant herbs like cilantro, basil, or mint.

The description from the winery says to serve it chilled but not ice cold, but honestly, on a hot day I love this as cold as you’d drink white wine. Just don’t leave me alone with the bottle, because it’s so juicy and refreshing, with flavors of tart cranberry and fresh raspberries, it’s a little hard to stop drinking.

While I’ll always love that pale pink #summerwater, hopefully these suggestions inspire you to try something new at your next barbecue or pizza night this summer.

Are you still into rosés? Or are you looking for something more?