Pairing RosÉ with Food: Endless Possibilities1
The food pairing possibilities for rosé are almost endless. What follows is a selective listing of dishes readers will encounter on restaurant menus or can prepare at home. Wherever served, it is almost certain that these dishes when paired with rosé will enhance your pleasure.
Tapas Rosé is the perfect wine for most tapas. Try some of these tapas with rosé: Stuffed eggs with shrimp, chickpeas in onion sauce, scallops with ham, octopus with piquillo peppers, meatballs in almond sauce, ensalada rusa (Spanish potato salad), tuna tartlets, etc.
Salads and Cold Vegetables Try rosé with salad Nicoise or cold grilled vegetables including asparagus (some of the world’s best asparagus come from Navarra). When you next think of ordering or serving an antipasto platter, think of these wines and your guests will be very pleased.
Charcuterie Cold meats and especially cold cuts tend to have both the saltiness and spice to enhance the rosé wines’ flavors, while the wines not only hold up to them but reveal more of the salami’s umami or savory character. For a special occasion try these rosés with Jamón Ibérico or if you want to really splurge try Bellota ham, which is really sublime.
Seafood and Fish Seafood and fish dishes from anchovies to grilled tuna to grilled shrimp and poached cold or even grilled salmon work extremely well with the more full-bodied and creamy textured rosé wines, especially if accompanied by an aioli or other mayonnaise based sauces. Try rosé with your next fish or seafood stew.
Paella and Rice Dishes What could be more perfect than a Navarra rosé with paella? Vegetable, seafood and Valenciana paella all show well with dry rosé. Most other wines can be challenged by both pasta and rice dishes, but Navarra rosés have the texture and acidity to hold up to them. See for yourself how well they pair. Rosé works beautifully with saffron and tarragon.
Chicken, Pork and Veal Grilled chicken and pork pair beautifully with rosés. Try chicken in garlic sauce or chicken empanadas. If you can’t travel to Morocco, try rosé with your chicken tagine and couscous. There is also chicken chilindron, a fabulous chicken dish served with green and red peppers, ham, and savory spices. Marinated pork loin is a winner with rosé as is roast veal.
Spicy Foods Spicy foods such as Indian curries, Thai dishes, spicy sausages and dishes that feature piquillos or peppers have a natural affinity with these wines. You might even enjoy one with more mundane but tasty dishes such as a grilled sausage and peppers, hamburger, hoagie or a Philly cheese steak sandwich.
Cheeses Lastly, most cheeses can be challenging to wines, usually overwhelming their character, but the rosés of Navarra hold up very well to a number of cheeses, especially those of Spain. Try a tangy and earthy Roncal or Idiazabal, a Zamorano or Majorero sheep’s cheese, and finally try one of the many Cabrales blue cheeses now available in the US with a refreshing strawberry-scented dry rosé to be momentarily transported to the beautiful region of Pamplona and Navarra.
It is now up to you to learn what goes best with dry rosés. Keep in mind that Navarra and other rosés are enjoyed year around, especially by Mediterranean food enthusiasts. They are at their best when served chilled. However, when too cold they loose their delicate aromas and flavors. If served too warm, the residual sugar in many rosés produce an unpleasant, cloying sensation and the overt fruitiness of the wine can create the sensation of drinking warm Kool-Aid. In purchasing rosés, make sure you are getting the current vintage. And for more on rosés, see our tasting article Rosés, May 2008