VA Rosé with Wine Enthusiast's Carrie Dykes

Next Tuesday, Charlottesville's Boar's Head Inn will host the 5th Annual Virginia Wine Summit, a gauntlet of educational drinktivities for food and beverage professionals, starting bright and early with biscuits and bubbles at 8:45 am, naturally.

The sold out event offers fascinating content for sommeliers, bartenders, and writers from a staggering line-up of experts including award-winning winemaker Michael Schapps; RVA bar managers Mattias Hägglund of Heritage, Shannon Hood of Brenner Pass, and T. Leggett of The Roosevelt; Lenn Thompson, founder and editor of The Cork Report; Barboursville Vineyards som Jason Tesauro; and our friend, Carrie Dykes, Tasting Coordinator at Wine Enthusiast

We chatted with Carrie in advance of her panel "Hot Pink! A Discussion on Virginia Rosé," to find out what makes VA rosé special and why she thinks rosé is having a total moment. 

Wine Enthusiast Tasting Coordinator, Carrie Dykes. Photo by Megan Baggott.

Wine Enthusiast Tasting Coordinator, Carrie Dykes. Photo by Megan Baggott.

  • Do you have a favorite Virginia rosé? And if so, tell me all about it!

I haven’t tasted them all, but I am really digging a lot of the ones I have tried. My favorite so far is the Early Mountain 2016. It’s super beachy and fun with fresh strawberry, watermelon and pomelo notes; but it is also elegant in balance and acidity. I think the thing that gave this rosé an edge was this absolutely gorgeous white tea note. I’m kinda a sucker for hints of tea in wine.

  • What is it that makes Virginia rosé different? How, in your opinion, does it differ from its counterparts from other places?

Well the rosés I have tried have mostly been from Bordeaux varietals and that seems to be a winning rosé blend in VA. This makes sense since a lot of VA wine producers have realized the potential for Bordeaux grapes due to similar soils and the varietals doing well in hot, humid climates.

I am really interested in what kind of dry style rosé can be made with Norton. After all, it’s a VA grape! On a side note, I’d love to try an orange-style Viognier too and really dork out on some VA staple grapes.

I’m not sure there is one particular style of rosé that spans the state—from what I have seen there are a variety of styles. The trend I see most often is Bordeaux grapes done in a dry style, with a really lovely Provence hue. A lot of producers also use the saignée method to keep costs down without sacrificing quality. The result is a rosé that looks like it came from Provence but has a little more oomph.

  • Why is rosé so very hot right now? Millenial pink? Easy drinking? Pair-ability with food? 

Oh yes, Millenial pink for sure! Wine consumers in the millenial age group are always looking for something new and different (blue wine, orange wine, pet nat etc.) and these styles become trendy. Rosé stopped being associated with White Zinfandel with dryer styles becoming more prevalent, and millennials snatched them up and turned the market upside down! It’s just such a fun, easy drinking style—you don’t have to overthink (or overspend) with the pink stuff.

With cute sayings and hashtags such as, “Brosé” for dudes, #yeswayrose #roseallday and celebrity backed product like White Girl Rosé it’s taken on a life of its own.

During the summer is there anything more perfect with summer fare than a nice, cold rosé? It works with fish and shellfish alike due to the zippy acidity, but also can hold its own with some BBQ chicken and corn on the cob on the grill. Summer salads are just salads without a glass of something pink next to it.

One trend I’d like to see is rosés with ageability and heartier, winter pairings. #roseallyear

  • What should someone look for when choosing a rosé to pair with a summertime meal?

It’s really up to your preference—anything you feel like drinking with your meal will be the perfect pairing. For me personally, I like a dry, high acid rosé and love drinking them with shellfish.

If I were having a burger, a rosé that might stand up to a rich meal like that might be more of a Tavel, France or Navarra, Spain style, which are usually made with Grenache/Garnacha. A comparable VA rosé in style might be the King Family Crosé (although it is Merlot based).

All in all I am excited to be at the conference and pumped about the future of VA wines!


If you can't be there IRL, follow #VAWineSummit on your sites on Tuesday, May 16th.

Stephanie GanzComment