Fill up your rosé-coloured glasses: Evans Hammond

With few exceptions, paler pinks tend to taste drier and more restrained than their more boldly coloured counterparts.

By: Carolyn Evans Hammond Published Tues May 15 2017 on Star Touch and Sat May 19 2017 in The Toronto Star, syndicated

This time of year, a new slew of pink wines hits shelves as rosé remains ragingly popular. And the LCBO is listing some pretty sexy stuff. But bottles range from bone dry and delicate to sweet and fruit forward, so how do you know which is which? The trick is to look at the colour. With few exceptions, paler pinks tend to taste drier and more restrained than their more boldly coloured counterparts. I’ve charted a sure course through the dizzying array of rosés now available with these five finds.

2016 Malivoire Ladybug Rosé, VQA Niagara Peninsula, ON (Vintages Essential 559088 $15.95 in stores and online)

Shining the exact colour of ripe watermelon, this popular pink tastes juicy and ripe with round with rippling flavours of raspberries and yellow plum. There’s some sweetness here but it’s balanced by zippy, mouthwatering acidity so finishes clean and dry. Those who like it, like it a lot. In fact, it sold out before summer was over last year and has been the best-selling rosé in Vintages for two years running. This local fave is great with Gouda. 

Score: 88

2016 Bacalhoa JP Azeitao Syrah, Peninsula de Setubal, Portugal (LCBO 404566 $8.55 in stores and online) 

I scored the 2015 of this glossy rosé 90 last year and this vintage is equally delish. Cherry-and-rose scents lead to a cool, brisk attack that flashes with flavours of ripe cherries, lemons preserved in salt, and roses in full bloom. A kiss of sweetness offsets the shock of acidity for a clean, fresh, well-balanced drop. Pour this easy smart buy from Portugal with paper-thin slices of Ibérico ham or prosciutto. 

Score: 90

NV Yellowglen Pink Sparkling Rosé, Australia (LCBO 15967 $12.05 in stores and online)

The dark bottle hides the shade of this pale coral bubbly so you can’t put it to the colour test, which is good because it’s a rare exception to the rule. It’s pale and delicate but also rather sweetish. Aromas of sugared plums lead to an off-dry, elegant expression of orange peel, lemon zest, dried flavours, peaches and cream — tightly threaded with cool acidity. This fine-boned sparkling wine offers considerable finesse for the money and would be a great patio pour with seriously salted, attractively gnarled, kettle cooked chips.

Score: 91

2016 Angels & Cowboys Rosé, Sonoma County, California (Vintages 332568 $22.95 in stores)

The colour of this wine is called oeil de perdrix, or eye of the partridge, which is the palest shade of silvery pink — a gorgeous shade, really. Expect wispy aromas of orange zest and gentle pomegranate, a satiny, almost oily texture, barely there flavours of white cherry, red plum, lavender and pomegranate that lead to a lingering Royal Gala apple-seaspray-white pepper finish. Light bodied and dry, this is quite a stylish and bone-dry thriller. Love the label, too. On shelves now but won’t last. So snap some up to pour with pan-seared scallops sometime.

Score: 92

2016 Saint Aix Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France (Vintages 490904 $45.95 1500mL in stores) 

Hailing from the 130-year old Maison Saint Aix winery that only makes this one wine, this new release is a classic. It’s the perfect Provençal rosé to transport you to the south of France with instantly captivating aromas and flavours of restrained redcurrant, dried flowers and apricot, all bone dry and taut. Snap up a bottle to pour with paté or goat cheese salad in the sunshine — the larger format will add instant panache to larger gatherings. Oui, oui!

Score: 90


Carolyn Evans Hammond is a Toronto-based wine writer. She is also a London-trained sommelier and two-time bestselling wine book author. Reach her at .