Fish or tapas, sausage or salad: rosé always goes. Except in winter. Because almost all drinking occasions are related to summer, sun and terrace. But good rosé can do so much more, as top sommelier Giuseppe d'Aniello knows. He has revealed his insider tips for winter cuisine.
There are plenty of occasions for good rosé in winter, too: for lunch, a light wine with the pot roast would be ideal, if only it had a bit more punch than the average fruit bombs. Talk to Giuseppe d'Aniello and you'll quickly come up with some good ideas for the cold season. The British "Sommelier of the Year 2023" works in the fine London restaurant "Berners Tavern" of star chef Jason Atherton, a student of Ferran Adria and Gordon Ramsay. There he has some unusual advice for his guests. The restaurant belongs to the luxury hotel "The Edition". Wealthy guests rent suites with oak floors and furnished terraces from which they can look out over colourful Soho down to Parliament and the London Eye on the Thames.
Between baroque stucco ceilings and wood-panelled walls, Jason Atherton serves up food in "Berners Tavern". The maître d' is known in London for two other Michelin-starred restaurants and serves British-inspired cuisine with a certain understatement at Edition, mostly with local products such as goose with a reduction of port wine and beetroot. To accompany this, his head sommelier recommends a dark Spanish rosé that leaves enough room for the intense flavours without disappearing behind them. His tip is a wine from the underrated region of Navarra. The crisp acidity gives the intense sauce a bit of a leg up. "It even goes well with salmon braised for hours with pumpkin, beetroot and oriental spices. Or even with grilled chicken," he says.
"In winter," explains d'Aniello, "you basically need riper, lusher rosés such as a powerful wine from the Italian DOC Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo. Its cherry and herb aromas also hold their own with hearty meat dishes. Nerello from Etna also offers salty notes, delicate berry flavours and the necessary complexity." These components also bring good rosés from Roussillon into the glass - and for the sommelier, such wines are best drunk on Boxing Day. "Xinomavro from the north of Greece is also one of them," he adds. The typical aromas of iron, tomato leaves and plums give this rosé a good, strong structure.
You can tell from the grape varieties he mentions: In winter, they must have been produced from demanding grape varieties. His recommendations from Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Xinomavro are elaborate to complicated in cultivation. Winemakers who still see their rosé as a residual ramp for mediocre batches of wine don't get far with it in the cold season. "Rosé from Spain," says Giuseppe, "is perhaps the best example of wines that also cut a good figure in winter. They are darker and have more structure than the usual lightweights."
Tavel is probably the best-known French origin for rosé, which is wonderful to drink by the fireside. This dark type of wine offers zesty spices and notes of strawberries and red currants that can take on a pork tenderloin. These robust wines, which remind some people more of Beaujolais than rosé, are currently a little overshadowed by the brightly coloured Provence wines that are so in vogue. The droplets of pale pink may go well with a mixed salad - but it won't be a match for spare ribs with roast potatoes. D'Aniello and is slowly getting up to speed. "It's better to leave them in the cellar in winter," he advises, "except maybe a few from the Côte de Provence." Giuseppe clears his throat and recommends one of the trendy top rosés, priced at 50 euros a bottle. "Château Minuty 281 is my tip for Asian grilled Norway lobster. Marinated in sweet soy sauce, the wine harmonises perfectly with its mineral notes and fruits like melon and raspberry. Above all, the freshness is a good counterpoint to the creamy sauce."
On the one hand, the rosé trend is also determining the German market. "In Germany, consumption has risen by one percentage point every year in the past, to no less than twelve per cent today," explains Ernst Büscher, press spokesman for the German Wine Institute. Light wines in pink set the tone for wine trends. On the other hand, professionals who do many tastings with private wine friends often despair of their customers behind closed doors: "Everything from light pink to salmon is considered good. Rosés in strong orange or medium red have already failed with many before anyone has even tasted them," says an experienced wine merchant who wants to remain unnamed. Giuseppe d'Aniello also rolls his eyes at the mention of these trends: "Those who first drank Pinot Grigio then switched to Prosecco, only to discover rosé. But he may soon say goodbye to the fruity Primitivo." But in trend-hopping, the public hasn't even tasted the best rosés yet. "Yet rosé can be so much more than just a summer wine," the sommelier points out, raising his eyebrows.
Sounds like rosé can do everything. Really? The sommelier shakes his head. "We prefer to leave raw red meat," says d'Aniello. Still, the rosés he recommends take on heavyweights like the classic Indian biryani with ghee, eggs and spices like cardamom, coriander and chilli. "With this I recommend a fruity rosé with good structure like Pascal Julie's Pinot noir from Sancerre, vintage 2018.
Turkey, with its very different meat, chefs like to prepare with lots of butter, and Giuseppe pairs it with 2020 La Bollina Tinetta from Alto Monferrato in Piedmont. "The acidity of the Nebbiolo is just the right counterbalance to the buttery sauce that goes with winter."
But too few people know that. "People almost forget that rosé is a wine," Giuseppe d'Aniello scolds, "even sommeliers underestimate it." When even an English rosé works. "Sparkling rosés from the UK are wonderfully lively with good acidity." In addition, there are often typical notes like hawthorn or rosehip. These wines are usually made from the Champagne varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Therefore, it is fair to compare these sparklers with their counterparts on the other side of the English Channel. Giuseppe could go on for a long time, for example about rosé with sashimi and maki. But in winter, rosé has "all but disappeared in London. People order it in spring and throughout the summer. After that, no one seems to dare." Sounds familiar. Because winter is no time for rosé in Germany either. From April to the end of June, statistically almost a third more of it is drunk than in the three cold months before.
But Giuseppe d'Aniello even serves rosé with a not-too-sweet cheesecake with raspberries. "The acidity of a dry Pinot noir rosé from Sancerre neutralises the cheesy flavours on the palate. Then the Pinot fruit comes in and pairs perfectly with the berry flavours in the cake." So even a dry rosé can accompany the dessert. If that's not an accolade.