Vail Wine Ink column: Rose season is nearly upon us; try it at Taste of Vail |

Vail Wine Ink column: Rose season is nearly upon us; try it at Taste of Vail

Nothing says spring…or summer, like a refreshing glass of rosé.
Photo courtesy Getty Images | iStockphoto

If you go ...

What: Debut of Rose, part of the Taste of Vail.

When: 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 5.

Where: Grand Ballroom, The Arrabelle at Vail Square, 675 Lionshead Place, Lionshead Village.

Cost: $55, includes unlimited tasting of 100 rose wines, or purchase a Signature Four Pass, with access to Debut of Rose, Lamb Cook-Off, Mountain Top Tasting and Grand Tasting, is $430.

More information: Learn more about the Taste of Vail and purchase tickets at

Under The Influence

Clif Family 2016 Rose of Grenache — So I guess there is a history of cycling and wine lovers. Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, before founding Clif Bars and Clif Family Wines, were avid cyclists who fostered their love of wine on summer bike trips through Europe. This rose, though limited in its distribution and a bit pricy at $26 a bottle, is worthy of the ride. Made from 100 percent Grenache grapes grown in Mendocino County, its pale pink color gives way to a bountiful basket of fruits that range from bright cherries to perfect pears.

My favorite recent tweet came not from the White House or Congress, and it had nothing to do with health care or unmasking.

No, my favorite tweet appeared the first day of spring, as a retweet of an Instagram post from wine man Bobby Stuckey. It read, “Today is spring equinox, also known as the official start date of Rosé Season.” It was a missive that may have arrived a bit early, as snow still sits on the decks of many of our homes. Nonetheless, it was a celebration of sun and seasons to come, when rosé will once again be our wine of choice.


American rosé consumption has risen during the past decade. Once considered a light, regional wine style best enjoyed on a hot afternoon on the coast of France, or before dining in a Sicilian village, rosé is now a summer staple.

There are a plethora of reasons: In a world where people are craving lighter styles of dry wines that are generally a bit lower in alcohol, fresh, young rosé wines are a perfect fit. Combine that refreshing style with the beauty of pink-hued wines that reflect the sun and you have magic in a glass.

For winemakers, the beauty is economical. Rosé can be, and is, made from just about any red grape. And because it is released shortly after harvest and rarely sees extended aging, winemakers can reap profits quickly. There is a benefit to making a wine that they can sell quickly, freeing up space and resources in their wineries for the next vintage.

This also allows the wines to be sold inexpensively to consumers. Of course, there are premium-priced rosés, including those of Miraval (made by Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Marc Perrin) or the extravagantly packaged Domaines Ott, whose wines can range to more than $25 a bottle. But a perfectly good import or domestic rosé can be purchased in the $10 to $15 range — a steal.

In the south of France and the Southern Rhone, rosé is traditionally made from blends of grenache, syrah or mourvedre. But today you will find global winemakers who make rosé from other red grapes, including pinot noir, cabernet franc or zinfandel.

In America, rosé has become a favorite for consumers due its versatility on its own and paired with summer foods. The acidity and structure of a good rosé can transport you to a place where the breeze blows, the sun shines, the seafood is fresh and life is, well, sublime.


So I used the description “wineman” in my introduction of Stuckey. As a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Stuckey has gone on to create with partner Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, one of America’s top wine destinations. Coincidently, Frasca last week received a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Restaurant in America. And he has become a champion for the wines of Italy, especially those from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia, region where he has produced and imported wines under the Scarpetta label.

Stuckey also heralded the American arrival of his rosé made from the Italian nero d’avolo grape. Bobby and the boys have made a rosé with a label that pays homage to their love of cycling. Sounds like the perfect wine after a long ride.

Kelly J. Hayes lives in the soon-to-be-designated appellation of Old Snowmass. He can be reached at

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