From “Rosé? No way!” to #roseallday

Nerac night market on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis is a guest post written by Neil Phillips and participates in today’s #winophiles Twitter chat (see below for details!)

Those who not that long ago viewed the term “rosé” as a synonym for “California blush”, rejoice.  In another welcome sign that the North American wine market continues to mature, rosé proper is increasingly popular.  No longer insipid sweet fruit bombs – often poorly made for a beginner wine drinking public – dry rosé is now sold in abundance.

Here in Ontario, we used to wait patiently for the handful of rosés on offer each summer.  As the popularity increased, we’d become frustrated as they sold out.  (Note:  Ontario retail wine sales are only permitted at government-owned monopoly stores or wineries, with some grocery retail just recently added.)  My, how times have changed.  The growing demand for rosé has ensured there are dozens upon dozens that are released throughout the year, and it would be impossible not to quench your desire.  Wineries across the province have responded, producing a range of quality wines.  On last check, the LCBO lists more than 50 rosés produced in Ontario, and another ten from British Columbia.  And roughly 300 total from around the world!

Rose and gougeres on

Some favourite Ontario rosés

The priciest (at $30) from Ontario is from the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation, and has a flavor profile much like Tavel.  Thirty Bench Small Lot Rosé is a Cabernet Franc majority blend, with Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Merlot.

Trending more towards the lighter Provençal rosés, Hidden Bench Estate Winery produce a Pinot Noir (with a dash of Viognier) number that is light, crisp, and has an elegant long finish.

Biodynamic producers Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara have had success with their rosé for years, with an offering that is strong of fruit and savoury flavours.  If you visit the vineyard, though – I challenge you to leave with just this.  A high-quality producer with a well-deserved reputation for excellence.

Another high-profile producer, Stratus Vineyards built a reputation on the art of blending.  Their Wild Ass (for “wild assemblage”) comprises Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.  An intriguing blend (even moreso for Ontario) that works wonderfully.  This is a rosé that might be interesting with a bit of age.

The Foreign Affair Winery is known for making wines using the appassimento method.  Their 2017 Pinot Noir rosé features 10% of Chardonnay that underwent such drying techniques.

Another consistent favourite of ours is the 100% Cabernet Franc rosé from Ravine Vineyard Pale Salmon in colour, it straddles a flavor profile between Provence and Tavel.  Let’s call it Ontario’s Languedoc, perhaps?

I’ll close with a sparkling wine – generally the only quality appellation-level rosé where blending is permitted.  Henry of Pelham produces a stunner:  Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut.  Made in the traditional method from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the wine is aged for a minimum of 24 months on the lees before disgorging.  At $30, it easily competes with Champagne costing twice as much (in the province).

The above are just a few of the quality rosés being produced in Ontario.  If you’re in the region, explore the many different styles, which can take you on a taste tour of pink.

and from France…

I have to give a shout out to one of our French favourites, no longer available in Canada since being sold, is Domaine du Poujol, from the Languedoc (just outside Montpellier).  Alas, the Cripps sold the estate last year and moved to Spain – so the wine is no longer available in Ontario.  I therefore haven’t had a vintage from the new owners, but previous years were a blend of Cinsault, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Grenache, and featured a great minerality driving wild strawberries, currants and a tomato leaf savoury finish.

Salted olive crisps and rose image on

Join the #winophiles exploring French rosé this month!

Join the chat today – Saturday July 21st 2018 at 11am EDT (8am PDT, and 17h in France). See what the group thinks of rosé and tell us about your experiences! Simply log into Twitter and search for the #winophiles tag, and you’re in!

Read more about French rosé from the #winophiles!

David from Cooking Chat says it’s Always a Good Time to Sip Provence Rosé.

Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles shares her vision of Côtes de Provence through Rosé Filled Glasses.

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Warm Weather Rosé and Cheese Pairings.

Michelle from Rockin’ Red Blog will be Celebrating the Provençal Lifestyle with Three Rosés.

Lynn from Savor the Harvest cues up Obscure French Rosé Wines – Drink Now.

Gwendolyn from Wine Predator prepares # RoséAllDay with Grilled Cheese Gourmet for#Winophiles.

Nicole from Somm’s Table adds Cooking to the Wine: Ultimate Provence Urban Rosé withHerbed Sous-Vide Chicken Breasts and Sheet Pan Roasted Eggplant.

Jane from Always Ravenous offers up a Summer Cheese Board with Rosé.

David from Cooking Chat says it’s Always a Good Time to Sip Provence Rosé.

Jill from L’Occasion explains Why Rosé Matters, According to French Culture.

Liz from What’s In That Bottle advises us to Live a More Rosé Life.

Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog discusses The Pleasures of Provençal Rosé.

Payal from Keep the Peas claims Rosé: The Original Red Wine.

Julia from talks about Rosé: Not from Provence but Just as Delicious!

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm tempts us with Soupe au Pistou Paired with Rosé.

And, Lauren, at The Swirling Dervish, is Celebrating A New Home with an Old Friend: Rosé from Provence.


14 thoughts on “From “Rosé? No way!” to #roseallday”

    • I believe some, yes – but of course it depends even more on your local market distributors (and state). Thirty Bench is owned by a larger winey, but is a smaller lot producer – so possibly not. (To be honest, their “claim to fame” is as one of Ontario’s top Riesling producers, IMHO.)

      There are several other quality estates I simply ran out of room to mention, such as Flat Rock Cellars, Henry of Pelham and many more.

  1. Wonderful post…thank you. Alas, we cannot get many Canadian wines in the Southwest; however it was interesting to read about them.

    My husband and I have been Rose drinkers for years. While we are glad that Rose is now widely accepted as a fine wine and not a version of white zinfandel, the result has been a sizable increase in price. I guess this is small price (no pun intended) to pay more variety and greater availability.

    • It is. But look at it this way: you’d still be hard-pressed to spend more than $30-$40 for an absolute TOP rose. Which would be hard to say about a red or white, even domestically in the USA. 😉

  2. When Mark and I lived in BC (2005/6) we never tasted a wine from Ontario, accept for ice wine. I remember the LCBO and their control. The first time I saw the price of a California wine (selling for $5.99 in the US, $25 in BC) my chin dropped. Has it gotten better? I hope a steady stream of rosé makes it to your province! And since I’m here, will look for Domaine du Poujol and drink one for you 😉

    • It is indeed better – MUCH better. But still, the monopoly has its issues (as most do).

      Wines in BC are more expensive still, with their higher taxes: a $12 bottle here would inevitably cost $15 there.

      It’s oddly expensive in some ways: then in others, knowing what the producer gets, obscenely “inexpensive”. While perhaps not great for the government budget, I’d be happier if we paid producers overseas more Euros, and lessened our taxes.

  3. Thanks so much for adding Canadian rosé to our discussion! I always enjoy learning about new (to me) wine regions and the local gems available there. It sounds like you’ve found a way to enjoy a large variety of wines despite the government stranglehold on distribution. Cheers to that!

    • Well, truth be told I focused on Ontario: much out in British Columbia as well.

      The government stranglehold is on retail: I’m lucky to also purchase from agents…however those require a minimum one-case puchase making it more difficult to explore some glorious imports. (By way of example, there’s an astoundingly good Cremant de Bourgogne rose for $30 that I’d say fairly competes with grower Champagne of double the cost.)

    • Thanks to Mardi for plugging me in! I assiduously avoid Facebook, so luckily her nudge let me know…will try and join in more of the theme chats when I know about them.

      Though we need a sponsor up here to help with the products for each monthly theme. 🙂

  4. I’m so glad you joined us Mardi. I really must explore Canadian wines more. I live right across the river from Sarnia so it is a short ferry ride but I’m sure that the wines in that area would be much like our Michigan wines, leaving something to be desired but perhaps on our next trek into your beautiful country we can check them out.


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