Strawberry. Watermelon. Strawberry. Watermelon. Citrusy acidity. Earthy edge. Strawberry. Watermelon. Strawberry. Watermelon.
I’m exaggerating for effect, but that is more or less what my tasting notebook looks like after tasting more than four cases of East Coast rosé over the past month. I love tasting as many new rosés as I can every spring and summer, but after tasting so many back-to-back-to-back-to- … (you get the idea), I’m done. As much as I love dry rosé in all of its food-friendly, summer-ready glory, I think I’m sick of it now. It’s so popular as a category and there are so many being made in all wine regions of the world (most of it not great, by the way); it’s everywhere.
I’m not breaking up with dry rosé, but it is most certainly time to see other people. It’s not you, rosé, it’s me. Or maybe it is you just a little bit. You’re just a lot of the same. Most of the time, anyway.
Maybe this feeling will pass after a week or two.
Maybe it will linger until Thanksgiving, when I always drink rosé.
Luckily, there are plenty of other fish in the sea — or bottles on the shelves, in this case. Long Island has staked its claim — and in some ways its reputation — on all things merlot, but growers and winemakers do some delicious and interesting things with seasonally appealing whites as well.
Here’s a quick guide to five summer alternatives to dry rosé if you’re suffering from the same rosé fatigue that I’m dealing with right now, and some local places to get them.
This is perhaps the obvious, no-brainer of the group. Long Island sauvignon blanc is such a favorite in my house that I seem to always be out of it. They tend to occupy the space between riper California styles and the steely, mineral-driven wines of France. The best are bright and citrusy — often with some melon overtones, with varying degree of herbaceousness and terrific acidity that makes them both refreshing and extremely food-friendly. Look for bottles from Macari Vineyards, McCall Wines, Channing Daughters Winery, Raphael and Shinn Estate Vineyards. Not an exhaustive list — there is a lot of good sauvignon out here these days — but those are good starting points.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t save sparkling wine just for special occasions. Good bubbly can make any day a better one. It’s fresh, refreshing and great with most foods. Sparkling Pointe rarely disappoints — it’s their focus — but I also like the traditional sparkling wines made at Wölffer Estate, Lieb Cellars and Lenz Winery. For something a bit trendier, check out the pet nat-style bubbly made at Channing Daughters and Southold Farm + Cellar (which still sells online).
Long Island isn’t a big riesling region. Most vineyards aren’t ideally suited to the grape, which prefers it a bit cooler and maybe not as humid. But, you can still get good riesling — wines that balance fruitiness with electric acidity, sometimes with just a bit of sweetness — from places like Paumanok Vineyards, Grapes of Roth and Anthony Nappa Wines (who uses fruit from the Finger Lakes region of New York, where the grape thrives).
I’m not sure why, but white blends haven’t taken off locally the way I’ve long expected, save the entry-level whites some wineries put out. By blending several varieties together you get layers of flavors and, depending on the composition, these wines range from lush and mouth-filling to spry and lithe on the palate. Check out wines from Channing Daughters, Bedell Cellars and Macari Vineyards.
Though you may only find examples from a winery or two each, there are other great options, including chenin blanc (Paumanok Vineyards), pinot blanc (Lieb Cellars and Palmer Vineyards), albarino (Palmer Vineyards), tocai Friulano (Channing Daughters) and trebbiano (Wölffer Estate).