When you think of all of the sunny climates where pink wines are made, it’s easy to see why rosés are the quintessential warm weather pour. They pair splendidly with lighter, seasonal fish-and vegetable-centric fare.
This summer, there’s been a deluge of pinks on shop shelves and wine lists, and a variety of well-made bottles, not just the classic Provencal pinks, but also deeper hued examples made with indigenous grapes, from places you might not expect.
In Provincetown, we caught up with Audrey Mostaghim of Joon Bar & Kitchen, a sleek new establishment that is reinvigorating the wine scene in the popular vacation spot. Rosés are all over her list.
Joon Bar, which opened at the beginning of this season, is on Commercial Street’s quieter West End. Mostaghim owns the spot with business partner Diarmuid O’Neill, known for his pubs The Squealing Pig in P-town and Boston, and explains that her establishment’s name means “dear” in Farsi, her family’s native language. Her late father, featured along with other relatives in vintage black-and-white photographs around the restaurant, affectionately called his daughter “Audrey-joon.” His memory buoys her, inspiring her to curate the most adventurous, small-producer focused wine list we’ve encountered in this cocktail-loving town.
Raised in Ann Arbor, Mich., Mostaghim was working in California when she fell in love with wine, and studied for her sommelier certification there. Her list offers diverse Old and New World selections. “Rosés have really taken off,” says the restaurateur. “It’s market driven, but it also shows peoples’ changing perceptions away from white zinfandel from the ’80s. Now people are drinking fully dry rosés.”
She had a hunch her guests would embrace a robust pink from Greece, one of her favorites, crafted from the agiorgitiko grape. “The hue is completely different,” she says, admiring the deep, cranberry color of a 2013 Gaia “14-18h” agiorgitiko rosé. (Its name refers to the number of hours the juice from crushed fruit stays in contact with darkly pigmented grape skins before that juice is made into wine). “It’s fuller bodied and more pairable with food,” she says, “And that’s the goal.” In fact, Mostaghim designed the food menu around the wine, rather than the other way around.
With tart acidity, minerality, and hint of texture, the Greek pink elevates the umami notes of roast mushrooms, an earthy mix of shiitake, cremini, and Hon-Shimeji, which arrive at the table crisp and smoky from time in a wood-fired oven. The quaff also proves to be an adept partner with a charcuterie platter and a salad of bitter greens and radish, dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette, with shavings of white asparagus — a vegetable notoriously hard to pair with other wines. We were reminded that a rosé, crafted to offer oomph and generous acidity, can take you from appetizer through main course without missing a beat. Concentrated versions of rosé can even appeal to red wine drinkers.
Back in Boston, we searched for wines with similar heft and interest and found many offering personality and substance, the kind that Mostaghim might add to her list. “I love when a guest says, ‘Hey Audrey, give me whatever you think I’ll like,’” she says.
Next time, we’ll use that line.
Travessia Pinot Noir rosé 2013 Summer fruits like strawberry, Bing cherry, and white peach are in the aromatics of this rosy Massachusetts-grown pink. A first sip registers some sweetness that quickly integrates into a bright, full-flavored wine. Around $16. At Boston Wine Exchange, Financial District, 617-422-0100; Social Wines, South Boston, 617-268-2974.
Gaia “14-18h” Agiorgitiko rosé 2013 A deep, saturated hue clues you in that this Greek rosé, made from the agiorgitiko grape, means business. Wet stone, mineral, and red-skinned fruit aromas lead the charge, offering a fully dry palate of intriguing texture, tart juiciness, and a sea-spray finish. Around $20. At Social Wines; Bauer Wine & Spirits, Back Bay, 617-262-0363.
Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo rosé 2013 At first glance, the dark green bottle might lead you to mistake this pour, made from montepulciano grapes in Italy’s Abruzzo, for a traditional red wine. Cerasuolo means “cherry-colored” and this pink — a rosato, labeled as rosé on bottles sold here — conveys substantial ripe cherry fruit enveloped in bright acid, a tactile feel, and a pleasantly bitter amaro finish. Around $17. At Colonial Spirits, Acton, 978-263-7775; Panzano Provviste & Vino, Southborough, 508-485-8884.
Couly-Dutheil Chinon rosé 2013 From France’s Loire, this wine is made from cabernet franc grapes. It glints in the light with coppery-gold hues, with scents of cool wet slate, green herbs, and spicy red fruit. Currant, crushed cranberry, and peach skin combine delightfully in this tart, elegant quaff. Around $18. At Colonial Wine & Spirits; Wine & Cheese Cask, Somerville,
Joon Bar & Kitchen, 133 Commercial St., Provincetown, 508-413-9336, www.joonbar.com.Ellen Bhang can be reached at email@example.com.