Summer wine Q&A, part II: The case of Yotam vs Rose wines.

When it comes to food and drink and all good things, Yotam is a very open-minded. Anything, pretty much, goes. Anything, that is, apart from tinned sweetcorn and rosé wine. We couldn’t get the Green Giant to come in to the test kitchen to defend the case of sweetcorn but, far more excitingly, are delighted to welcome Ottolenghi wine buyer Heidi Nam Knudsen back to the test kitchen court to present her case in the ongoing trial of Yotam vs. Rosé wines.

Q: Heidi, in a sentence or two: what’s the case in favour?
A: Rose wines are just deliciously versatile and lots of fun! These wines work brilliantly alongside salads and can cope with even strongly flavoured dressings; they go very well with spicy food or with simple grilled meats or vegetables.

Q: Yotam, in a sentence or two: what’s the case against?  
A: There's nothing inherently wrong with rose. I guess it's a hang-up from days when I foolishly looked at the world through a black and white prism, or, rather, red and white, with no room for greys and pinks. I feel grown up enough now to kick this bias and accept every shade along the spectrum, from white to pink, to red, to orange, which is my current favourite.

Q: Yotam, in our last blog you said that you’d take ‘anything apart from rose’ on a summer lunch and that Heidi was ‘still working on your ridiculously baseless bias against rose’. So, here goes. Are you not just being a bit narrow-minded or prejudiced against the wine, due to the slightly naff associations is has. Are you possibly just being a bit snobby? Although you do love Lambrusco which suffers, in some people’s eyes, from the same associations so the accusation of snobbery is not very watertight.  
A: Snobbery is definitely a factor here. I have so many painful youth memories of the cheap stuff and a series lingering mild headaches.

Q:And it’s not just because it is pink, is it? You love barberries, sumac, pink peppercorns, bright pink rhubarb and beetroot and sumac so it’s clearly to do with something more than the colour.

  A: I've got nothing against pink. As a matter of fact, I am known to have many a pink shirt in my wardrobe, perhaps a few too many.

Q: Heidi,  Why do you think rose is seen as a bit of a naff choice of wine – has that just come from its pretty-in-pink colour?
A: Possibly - but also because it is often cheaper than white or red wines because they don't need to age. Most rose wines should be enjoyed when they are young. There is definitely some snobbery against these wines....

Q: Heidi, what is rose wine and how is it made? 
A: It is made with dark skinned grapes - the skins are left to macerate for either a long or short time depending on the style of wine.

Q: Why is it (stereo)-typically sweeter than other wines? Is it sweeter or are there other less sweet varieties you’d recommend people try?
A: These wines are actually not sweeter than other wines - I think because of the colour they have been given a bad rep! A lot of these wines are actually very dry. I'm a big fan of bone dry Lambrusco so still think people should give this humble, most delicious drink a chance!

Q: And what are good food pairings for rose wine? What works especially well? 
I love drinking this gem from the Loire with any barbecued meat or veg. (Le Clocher Pour Une Poignee de Bouteilles, £16)
And this one from Sicily is perfect with fried scampi or squid. (Barraco Rosammare, £23)

Q: Heidi, do you only drink it chilled, during the summer, or would you have it throughout the year?
A: I would drink these wines throughout the whole year, all the time....

Q: Yotam, are you convinced or at least encouraged to try? Or are you going to stick the summer with your sherry, chilled reds and Lambrusco? 
  A: As I said, I am determined to love rose. It is so cool at the moment!!
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