Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. Western News file photo

Okanagan Taste: Rosé for spring days

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News

Spring release season at wineries usually means that new white wines are out on the shelf, the reds still aging for release in the fall, but pink wines have been experiencing a revival in recent years.

Gone (mostly) are the overly sweet bottles of vintages past, giving way to drier, more sophisticated styles that are both food-friendly and easy to sip on their own.

How is rosé made? Not by pouring finished white and reds together, hopefully, though depending on a country’s wine regulations, that is a possibility. White wine grapes, like Pinot Gris, may be part of the mix, but it’s the skins that are important. Pink wine is made by allowing the skin of the (red, black, or purple) grapes to have some contact with the fermenting juice, but not enough to make it a red wine. The longer the skin contact, the darker the wine and rosés come in a range of colours.

These wines often have aromas of strawberries, red fruits, a bit of vanilla and can be “bone” dry to lightly sweet. Try some of these, well-chilled, and find your favourite.

Quail’s Gate, Rosé 2016: A blend of Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, this is a pale salmon colour with a delightful nose of grapefruit and red berries. The winery suggests a spinach salad with strawberries as a pairing. Also a good bacon and egg wine.

Hester Creek, Rosé Cabernet Franc 2016: A bright ruby-like deep pink, if you like cab franc, this is a good intro to pink wine. Aromas of strawberry-rhubarb pie with a hint of tart cranberry, the flavour brings those elements together with vanilla and a bit of spice. Grill a salmon.

Monte Creek, Rosé 2016: Very unique, it is 100 per cent Marquette, a red wine grape suited to cooler climates. A vibrant pink, it’s crisp but with lots to experience: light rose petals and stewed strawberries on the nose, tart cherries on the taste buds. Try it with berry sorbet.

Tinhorn Creek, Oldfield Reserve Rosé 2016: Lightly coloured and French in style, this is refreshingly dry with citrus aromas mixed with red berries and a floral lift. The first thing you’ll taste is watermelon, followed by tart apple and a slight earthiness. Enjoy with charcuterie.

At around $20 a bottle, buy all four, invite some friends over, and have a drink pink night.

Save the Date

May 13, Naramata: Roll Out the Barrels along the Naramata Bench as the wineries sample wines straight from the barrel.

May 13, Naramata: Awakening the Grapes at Deep Roots Winery, the second annual “piping awake” the vines. Food by BRODO Kitchen, music by Crosstown Bus.

May 13, Naramata: Little Engine Winery Dinner at Little Engine Wines, on the crush pad overlooking Okanagan Lake, with Joy Road Catering.

May 14, Oliver: Intersection Winery hosts Cross Into Spring, a customer appreciation and wine release. New wines, guided tours, and mini-tasting classes.

May 27, Oliver: The first in its summer Canadian Concert Series, Tinhorn Creek welcomes The Boom Booms to its outdoor amphitheatre.

May 27, Similkameen: Seven Stones Winery hosts a vertical tasting of Chardonnay, a total of 10 vintages. Call 250-499-2144 to reserve a spot.

Allison Markin is the food and libations columnist for the Penticton Western News. She can be reached at and on Twitter @OkanaganTaste.