I am so excited to kick off a wine series here at Used York City….called….wait for it…
Used Cork City!
Every month I’ll be posting recommendations and ideas for wine lovers that will help them make the most of this city’s amazing wine and culture scene. And I can’t think of a better way to start than by sharing what has come to be my favorite summer wine tradition here in New York—having a rosé party. This is something my sisters and I do every year with our friends, and it always ends up being one of my favorite memories. In fact, last year it was second only to a trip I took to Paris, which speaks volumes (especially to anyone who knows how ridiculously deep my love for Paris goes).
As implied by the name, a rosé party is a soirée that involves—what else?—drinking lots of rosé wine. But it’s not just about drinking the wine. No, as cheesy as this sounds, it is also about celebrating rosé, and all that it contributes to making summer whimsical and fun year after year. When it comes to hosting a rosé party, there aren’t really any hard and fast rules, aside from the actual presence of rosé. With that said, there are a few things I consider critical if you are looking to make the most of the occasion.
Pick a fun, outdoor location to host.
While apartment parties are nice, food and drink are meant to be enjoyed outdoors in the summer, and a rosé party is no exception to this rule. With that said, plan to lay down some blankets at whatever city park is most convenient for everyone in the group. Word to the wise though—make sure you check to see when the park closes. My friends and I failed to do this during our first rosé outing in Central Park and got kicked out about 45 minutes into it, forcing us to relocate to a wine bar.
Another option, if you’re lucky enough to have it, is a roof deck. After our Central Park mishap, we went this route and, at the risk of stating the laughably obvious, there is nothing quite like sipping rosé while you watch the sun set over the Hudson. Or turning around, still with rosé in hand, to admire the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Freedom Tower lighting up all around you. Breathtaking just does not do it justice.
Have a variety of bottles on hand to do tastings.
This, to me, is one of the most fun things about a rosé party. When you’re out at a restaurant or a bar, you can only try so many different varietals in a night. At a rosé party, however, you have the opportunity to taste as many as you want. The easiest way to build this into the evening is to have everyone who is attending bring a bottle of rosé. From there, you can do the tasting any way you please. Our parties tend to be pretty casual about it—we open a few bottles, pass them around, and then repeat with a new set when the first one is done. You could also set up something more formal though. All you need to do is supply note sheets for the group (easily created in Microsoft Word), and structure the tasting process so that everyone is trying the same wine at the same time.
If you can’t decide which wine to bring to your rosé party, in turn, this year’s silver medalist at the International Wine Challenge is from Aldi and costs only eight dollars. While I have not yet tried it myself, I cannot imagine this won’t be a party pleaser.
Make a spread of foods that pair well with rosés.
At any wine party, you want to serve food that really brings out the flavors in the wine. And what’s great about a rosé party is that rosés range so much in taste and flavor that pretty much anything goes in the food arena. Dry rosés pair well with goat cheese, salads, and lightly grilled fish; fruity ones (akin to Pinot Noir) with Camembert and Brie; full-bodied with barbecue and ripe peaches (who knew); and dry sparkling with a range of tapas. All of this is to say that if you pick a cheese or food at random to bring to the party, chances are someone else will bring a wine that pairs well with it.
For those who want to be a little more thoughtful in their planning, however—not a big deal either. Just ask each guest to bring a cheese or other food item that pairs well with their wine. This will ensure you have the right combination of flavors lined up ahead of time.
Speaking of lining things up ahead of time, if you want to stock up on great cheese for the party at insanely good prices, I highly recommend East Village Cheese at 80 East 7th Street. This place is a gem.
Finally, stack the guest list with your favorite wine-drinking friends.
You know, the ones who would never leave a bottle at a party unopened. This is by far the most CRITICAL thing you will need.
Cheers, have fun, and of course, ROSÉ ALL THE WAY!
By: Reagan Daly