Wine Tips from Sommelier Chris Shepherd of Brennan’s of Houston, TX
Welcome to the Gulf Coast summer! It’s hot, humid, and just flat out nasty. For those of us that live in the coastal regions it is simply hard to drink wine; the thoughts of a cold beer run rampant among us. I, unfortunately, am not a beer fan. I need something to quench my thirst. I need something that will pair nicely with that ever-so-popular shrimp and crawfish boil. Houston has two seasons, hot and hotter. These days call for drastic measures and I need something to cool me off.
It came to me about a year ago when I was walking through the aisle of my favorite beverage center. I picked up an unusual bottle, something I figured I had to try. It was a Vinho Verde Rosé. What was I thinking? What would people say? Have I lost my mind? Was it possible the heat had gotten to me? I got home and my wife had this funny look on her face when she saw what I had bought. We chilled it down and opened it up. Wow, it was perfect! It was exactly what I was searching for. It was refreshing, crisp, and light, and I felt my body temperature begin to drop.
The following week I went on a mission to find every Rosé that I possibly could. I am not talking about that super sticky sweet stuff that I used to see growing up. I am talking bone dry, fresh fruit, and crisp, clean nirvana. I didn’t care if it was made from Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet, or Syrah. All I knew is that I needed other people to try it too.
Every week some friends and I get together for dinner and to try new wines. They would be my victims. My wife and I, for the next few months, always slipped a bottle of Rosé into the mix, and after a short period of time others followed suit. My plan had worked! On the 4th of July this summer, it was Rosé’s day to shine. It ended up being a Rosé-fest. We had over 14 different types of this wonderful libation to try and I was in heaven.
I now find myself buying these wonderful elixirs for Brennan's of Houston’s guests to try. There is a lot to overcome here. Houston is the land of steakhouses and huge Cab’s. That’s fine; I’m not going to tell someone what they should have. All the same, maybe I can show them something new. Isn’t that our job? Brennan’s of Houston is not a steakhouse, we are a Texas Creole establishment out of New Orleans. We focus on local product and our menu changes every week. That is a lot to keep up with. I have found that Rosé wines pair fantastically with most of our menu items. Yes, it is a challenge to get people to try it - I end up buying a lot of peoples’ glasses to get them turned on to it. I generally get a good response; in fact, it’s often the first bottle that the guests order that night.
It is up to us as wine geeks to try to get people to try new things. Yes, the look you get from someone when you suggest a Rosé is quite funny, but that’s okay. In my opinion it is the perfect summertime wine. There’s nothing wrong with a little pink. You just have to give it a chance.
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