7:00pm, Thursday, April 27th – Union Square Ballroom
With the winter doldrums in fast retreat and summer around the corner, perhaps there was no better time to attend the New York State of Rosé wine tasting festival at the Union Square Ballroom.
Upon entry in the airy ballroom, Natasha and I were immediately handed branded wine stems. Surveying the crowd, we were delighted to see that the festival was in full swing. The other guests comprised predominately urban professionals, who all seemed animated and merry, which set the tone for the evening.
In the spirit of impartiality, Natasha and I resolved to sample every rosé at the festival, which consisted of around twenty pop-up stations with varieties of rosé, cheeses and cured meats for a comprehensive tasting experience. To that end, we – ever the strategists – decided to start with the first station, and proceed counter-clockwise.
With a large array of wineries represented, it was apparent that there was a diverse selection of rosés across geographies and varietals. There were old world rosés, and new; rosés from Brazil and across the world, and some from the Hudson Valley; Merlots, Cabernet Francs, Sauvignon Blancs.
Aiding our enjoyment of the wine was learning about each vineyard or winery in detail – often from the proprietors themselves at each pop-up. For example, Croteaux Vineyards, who had guests sample a veritable flight of rosés, is the only vineyard in the United States to make only rosé, and only rosé. Winemakers such as Waters Crest Winery, and others, happily handed out business cards.
For the more responsible, there were discard buckets and water pitchers to cleanse the glasses between tastings. For others, such as myself, there were an abundance of cured meats, charcuterie boards, and small desserts to cleanse the palate between tastings.
Perhaps that is the charm of rosé, and the reason it has become so popular so quickly. Rosé is crisp, it is light, it is refreshing. But importantly, it is accessible—both to those purists with particular sensibilities but also to newcomers and wine novices. Indeed, that inclusiveness was emblematic of those attending and curating the event – the liveliness of the conversation, the cordiality of the winemakers there, and the lightness of the dry salmon-hued wine, all made for an enjoyable tasting experience. If not to enjoy oneself, what other reason is there to drink rosé?