For better and for worse, rosé has blown the fuck up.
Sure, that’s meant an influx of terrible pink wines, like the White Girl Rosé put out by Instagram terror the Fat Jew, and its ascension to the status of the summer equivalent of the pumpkin spice latte.
But the rosé boom has also meant that serious winemakers have put out some great blends. And more importantly, the lack of pretention surrounding summer water means that there’s far less pearl clutching when you want to mess with it.
According to acclaimed Portland wine writer Katherine Cole, it’s all good: Put it on ice, blend it, make a cocktail, mix it with Sprite, or toss it in a water bottle.
“I’m not judging,” says Cole, who this spring released the book Rosé All Day: The Essential Guide to Your New Favorite Wine. (Further cred: She won a James Beard Media Award this year for her OPB podcast The Four Top.) “There are no rules, really, with rosé. It’s just do whatever you want, and I think that’s so refreshing for people.”
Cole could be a super snob about it—and her gorgeous book has lots of high-end bottles to gawk at and a super comprehensive history of the style—but she says the fact that most rosé is so affordable and accessible means it’s fine to play around.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to bastardize everyone’s favorite wine.
Choose it based on color
“Rosé is the one wine where it’s totally valid to choose it based on the way it looks,” Cole says. “It’s so beautiful to look at compared to other styles of wine. Why not just admit that drinking is a multi-sensory experience? If some quote-unquote ‘basic bitch’ buys rosé because it matches their outfit, I say fine.” (She adds: “I don’t like the term ‘basic bitch.’ I want to support all women, no matter how bad their taste.”)
Grab a lighter colored wine for salads and appetizers, and snag a darker rosé, like those from Spain, for the mains on the grill. Or just get whatever matches your nails.
Put it on ice
“There’s something decadent and celebratory in rosé, throwing ice cubes in it, and saying I’m rich today,” Cole says. “Like, I’m going to put my wine on ice today and say I don’t care.”
I’m a big fan of buying a box of rosé (look for Le Clos des Lumieres at local wine shops) for daily slurping and throwing in a few cubes to make it stay cold for longer. Cole says the cheaper the rosé, the better off you are keeping it super cold.
But it’s not just for budget wine: Moët and Chandon released an Ice Imperial Rosé, a champagne specifically designed to be served over ice. Running at up to $80 a bottle, the tart, fizzy blend requests that drinkers pour six ounces in a large glass with three ice cubes.
After work on a hot day, the patio at Cheese and Crack (22 SE 28th) is the best place to snag a baby pink glass full of slushie for just $5. They go down easy though, so beware.
Even fancy Little Bird (215 SW 6th) is rocking a rosé float ($14), dreamed up by pastry chef Erin Hughes. The Satine Rosé Float (named after the lead character in Moulin Rouge), has a strawberry-rosé sorbet made by Erin and Limoux.
Or, if you’re into the DIY scene, freeze a watermelon and maybe some strawberries or raspberries, add a bottle of your favorite low-cost rosé, and blend. Turn on your sprinklers and enjoy.
Drink it with a dude
Yeah, brosé is a term now.
But Cole stressed that 47 percent of rosé drinkers are men, and it’s a great sign of the times. In the ’80s to mid-2000s, Wine Spectator’s masculine descriptions of red wine, like “aggressive,” “full throttle” and “muscular,” drove macho wine culture, she explains.
Now, it’s all about that pink shirt and pink drink life—no matter what chromosomes you have. “It’s just the idea of a guy drinking pink wine, and being like ‘I’m so at ease with my masculinity, I’m totally cool drinking pink wine,’” Cole says.
Just add Sprite, La Croix, or plain old fizzy water from the SodaStream. Ice is also a good look here.
Portland’s own Underwood has sparked a wine-in-can trend that’s being picked up by larger commercial wineries like crazy. Not to be outdone, they put out a sparking canned rosé this spring. It’s really the only way to river.
Keep it local
Sometimes you just want to pour a decent wine from a bottle to a glass and enjoy it. Good local buys under $20 include the Marigny Rosé of Pinot Noir by St. Reginald Parish in Newberg (we saw some at Hollywood Liquor last week for $17), and the SE Wine Collective’s L’Avoiron Rosé of Gamay. Sokol Blosser’s 2016 Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir is $22 and is only available at the winery or online, but the pop of dry acidity, along with the fruitiness of organic grapes from two different sections of the winery, really makes it worth a try.