The first chill of fall finally touched us the other day: the air tightens, and the breeze hits your cheek, letting you know, this is as warm as it's going to get today.
When it comes to wine, people will say that, now that there's a chill in the air, the season of blowsy summer whites and rosés is over. I say, in a gutteral Vin-Diesel-esque growl, "It ain't over until I say it's over." And, with that, I put on a sweater and crack yet another bottle of pink wine and pour it into another tumbler.
I will say this, though, there is such a thing as the transitional rosé. Some pink wines work better than others as bulwark against advancing autumn, particularly the school of dark rosés. These are the semi-opaque wines that you might have to look at twice to determine whether they're truly a rosé. That darkness comes from the juice spending a little more time in contact with those red grape skins, meaning that it's picking up a little more tannin, a little more color (obviously), and some slightly heavier flavors. The wines are dry, but the taste is a little richer—still very fruity, but powerful and completely in tune with the shortening daylight of October and November. It's not until after Thanksgiving (rosé + turkey = happiness) that I'm finally ready to give up pink wine for the season. That is, still pink wine. Bubbly rosé, such as in Champagne—that stuff is genius any day of the year.
Here are a few of my favorite dark rosés for drinking on sunny, cool October evenings.
Tablas Creek Rosé 2008 -- Spicy and fruity with a rich texture and earthy basenotes. Past vintages of this wine were even darker than it is today. A beauty with chorizo and other cured meats.
Beckmen Vineyards Grenache Rosé -- The premier rhone-grape vineyard of Santa Barbara County produces a whopper of a rosé--brash, rich strawberry meets pepper and spice. Perfect for game birds and salty olives.
Enoteca Bisson Rosé, Liguria, Italy -- The name of the grape used in this wine is an intimidating mouthful--Ciegliegiolo--but the wine itself is an easy-drinking quaffer. Copiously fruity in the mouth, it's finish is bone dry.