Summer’s Here . . . Think Pink!

May 18, 2007

If you haven’t yet tried one of the dry roses that are (finally!) hitting the shelves in America, stop whatever you’re doing (alright, you can finish reading this post first ;-)) and get thee to a wine store!

Roses are made from red grape varietals, so they possess the body and flavor profile of those grapes—like syrah, grenache, pinot noir or even cabernet sauvignon. But the the juice is taken off the skins (which is what imparts the color onto wine) earlier than with reds, which leaves the wine a delicious shade of pink with the crispness of a white and the flavor and fruit of a red. I’m telling you . . . it’s a revelation.

I became a rose convert in France over a decade ago. I was having dinner at a little restaurant on the square in Haute de Cagnes, an inland hill town between Nice and Cannes, and had just ordered a plate of salt and chile roasted shrimp. The proprietor, a man from the area who clearly knew how to cook, suggested a rose to go with my dish. I flatly refused. To me, pink wine meant cloying and sweet, and at that point my taste had moved beyond that. But he insisted. And when he arrived at my table with a platter of hissing shrimp, he was carrying a glass of pale pink wine and wouldn’t leave until I took a bite and a sip.

To say it was a great pairing would be cheapening it. Against the spice of the shrimp it felt like jumping into a cool, refreshing ocean and then licking your lips. It was heavenly.

So to entice you to try a rose this weekend, I’m including a recipe here. It’s not an exact replica of “the epiphany,” but it comes close enough. And it gives you an excuse to light the grill. 


{ Butterflied Grilled Shrimp }

1-1/2 pounds large shrimp, with shells
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (if you have pink peppercorns, use those instead)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat grill to medium-high. Cut each shrimp down the back with a pair of sharp scissors and rinse out vein. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, olive oil, pepper, lime zest and salt; brush mixture over shrimp, making sure to get underneath the shell. Cover and let marinate for 15 minutes.

Press each shrimp onto the grill flesh side down to fan it out. Grill 3 minutes, or until just opaque.

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One Response to “Summer’s Here . . . Think Pink!”

  1. Anne-Liesse Says:

    I’m not a big rosé fan, but it’s such a summery thing here in France, and associated to such good times – lunch on a shaded terrace or a late dinner outside after a scorching hot day.

    I can’t wait till you try the Drôme rosé (côteaux du Tricastin) on our terrace ! If you want to check out the rosé I usually drink in the summer, you can log on It’s the Domaine de Montine, in Grignan. We served their “cuvée Emotion” on our wedding day…

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