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Roanoke Vineyards Nofi rosé. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)
Roanoke Vineyards’ Nofi rosé. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Each and every year I’m pleasantly astonished at the diversity I find in Long Island’s never-ending array of pink wines. The majority of writers and media these days push rosé as the “perfect summer drink” — a point that I do not dispute. Rosé is great in the warmer months. And the summer-sipper attitude around dry rosé has driven the production and sales of more of that wine than ever before in America.

It also sells the entire category short. It may be news to some, but some rosés are actually better suited as autumnal options, where their dinner table versatility shines brightest.

Now that the weather has cooled, I find myself using my oven more, and whether I’m roasting a chicken, roasting some winter squash or cooking a pork shoulder for 10 hours like I did last weekend, richer, fuller-bodied rosés really do fit the bill. They have enough weight to stand up flavor-wise, but are still fresh, with that lively acidity that makes them so food-friendly.

One such bottle is Roanoke Vineyards’ NoFi Rosé, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot that was aged in oak barrels for a short period of time to soften the edges and add a bit more texture in the finished wine. “NoFi” is short for “no filter,” which means, as you may have guessed, that the wine wasn’t filtered or fined before bottling.

Roanoke’s regular 2014 rosé is a blend of merlot and chardonnay and drinks a lot like a white wine. The 2014 NoFi is fuller-bodied and broader on the mid-palate, tasting a bit more like a classic Provencal rosé. Red fruits abound, but they are restrained and elegant, with subtle herbaceous notes in the background and just a bit of citrus. Dry and a bit creamy on the mid-palate, the finish is long and turns just a bit savory.

This is the type of rosé that straddles the seasons and seasonal cooking well. Having simply prepared striped bass, where a fresh wine with a bit more heft is welcome? Here’s your wine. Simple roast chicken with lemon? You can’t go wrong here. It’s not a steak wine, of course, but Roanoke has plenty of those, too.

Lenn Thompson

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