Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Published 12:01 p.m. CT May 24, 2019
On the one hand are wines that are so hot right now, and on the other, fortified wines that have an essence of history to them: Ray’s Wine & Spirits in Wauwatosa in June will have an outdoor exploration of rosés by the dozens (and dozens), and a limited tasting of select sherries with roots going back as far as the 18th century.
First up is Ray’s third annual Rosé Day Festival on June 9, a parking lot party under two large tents.
When they think pink, people’s minds tend to go to France and California for rosé wines. This event shows rosés’ diversity, though, with more than 100 kinds of rosé wines from around the world.
Nate Norfolk, certified sommelier and the director of wine and spirits at Ray’s, reels off sources for the bottles on deck for the festival beyond Sonoma and Provence: Argentina, Italy, South Africa, Oregon, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Greece.
Some sweet, off-dry and sparkling rosés will be on hand, but the festival’s focus is on dry rosés.
Take, for instance, a Spanish wine whose darker shade suggests sweetness but isn’t that at all — CVNE’s rosado from the Rioja, made from Tempranillo grapes.
“It’s totally bone-dry and has kind of a dried-fruit flavor to it,” Norfolk said. “I love it because it’s perfect for really garlicky foods and salty stuff, and it’s a nice aperitif on its own.”
And then there’s Meinklang frizzante rosé or, as Norfolk calls it, “the geeky thing I’m loving.”
The Meinklang, a small-production, biodynamic wine made from Pinot Noir grapes in Austria’s Burgenland, has just a slight bubble to it. Norfolk likens the flavor to crabapples “in a good way” — slightly bitter meets red fruit, he said, with some chalkiness to it.
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The festival is from 1 to 4 p.m. and is $35. Two food trucks will be on hand to sell their wares — Iron Grate BBQ Co. and Fatty Patty — and meatless menu items will be available.
That event draws a crowd. Then on June 18, Ray’s is having a considerably smaller tasting that will be open to 25 people. They will sip rare sherries from Bodegas Osborne, one of Spain’s oldest wineries, dating to 1772.
The tasting is at 6:30 p.m. and is $75. It will be led by Norfolk and sommelier Katie Espinosa, previously of Bartolotta Restaurants and now a representative for Johnson Brothers Liquor Co.
Most of the sherries at the tasting have the VORS label, also called very old rare sherry. It signifies that the sherry, blended from wines of various ages under the solera system, is an average of at least 30 years old; some of Osborne’s soleras were started in the 1700s and 1800s.
Here are the wines that will be tasted; all have limited production ranging from 198 to 837 bottles a year, selling for $115 to $350:
Palo Cortado Solera (solera dating to 1911); Oloroso Solera BC 200 (1864 solera); Amontillado 51-1a (1830 solera); Capuchino Palo Cortado (1790 solera); Sibarita Oloroso (1792 solera); Venerable PX (1902 solera).
Tickets for both events are available through the Ray’s website, rayswine.com/events.
Contact Carol Deptolla at firstname.lastname@example.org or (414) 224-2841, or contact her through the Journal Sentinel Food & Home page on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter at @mkediner or Instagram at @mke_diner.
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