Ann and Larry Walker may be two of the world’s foremost experts on the rapidly rising star of the wine world, rosé. And while their book joins a cadre of media buzz surrounding the pink drink, they aren’t just another pair of wine writers hopping on the trend as it takes off. Larry wrote several rosé-centric columns for the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1980’s, and they both cite a proclivity for Mateus in their college days at the University of Oklahoma, where they met. Of course, thanks to the influence of traveling the world together and living next door to the Napa Valley, their tastes have evolved accordingly.
Ann and Larry’s half-century relationship with rosé and the people who produce it has given them more than enough authority to quite literally write the book on rosé: The New Pink Wine: A Modern Guide to the World’s Best Rosés comes out July 1st. Written for the serious rosé-lover, The New Pink Wine is at once a celebration of and guide to the world of rosé wine. It includes interviews with producers and salesmen, a comprehensive guide to rosé from all over the world (did you know they make rosé wine in Mexico?), tasting notes, an overview of how it’s made, a little bit of history and a few select recipes from Ann’s successful catering company background.
Ann and Larry have watched the evolution of rosé in California over the decades, and today they view it a worthy match to the European counterpart. As Larry puts it, “Winemakers are taking it more seriously, they have grapes dedicated just for rosé. And the public is taking it more seriously.” They both feel that the attention paid to rosé by big food publications (think Saveur, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit) has legitimized the wine in the eyes of the consumer, driven demand up, and motivated winemakers to take a really serious, creative approach to crafting quality rosés that are balanced and delicious. It’s this balance, along with a wonderful level of acidity, that Ann says makes rosé the perfect wine to pair with nearly any meal, any time. “We drink it often. As a delicious aperitif, or at a very lovely dinner with heavy winter foods…when it’s cold and rainy you often have something like a stew that has earthy flavors, but you want to bring sunshine to the room – open a bottle of rosé, and the acidity works. It brightens flavors in a dish, makes the whole room glow and makes you glow.” Although he once labeled rosé “swimming pool wine” back when nobody was drinking it, today Larry agrees that it is much more: “[Rosé] is an anytime wine, not just a summertime wine. Rosé can be enjoyed across the board with any kind of food or any dishes you might want to put with it.”
While they are ardent lovers of California rosé, and awestruck at the leap in both quality and quantity in recent years, Ann and Larry are also extremely well-versed in international rosé. They have traveled extensively, finding rosés in places one would never expect. As with any other wine, experiencing rosé in the place it is produced adds such a depth of appreciation and meaning. While lunching in Catalunia, Spain, with a dozen other food and wine aficionados, they all marveled over a beautiful rosé on the table. When asked where it was from, the server pointed and said, “About 200 meters over there.” It turned out that the price point was about four euros – proving that the beauty of rosé is its ability to stun, connect, and inspire while staying accessible to everyone. It can be an upscale, high class wine to pair with an extravagant meal, and simultaneously a breezy picnic wine. And of course, Ann and Larry make the most of their picnics: “Larry and I were driving down along the Big Sur coast. We pulled off the side of the road, had a picnic with rose, and this couple came up and said ‘Oh, can we take a picture of you? You guys really know how to live!’ Well we said, yes take a picture. And then live it.” It’s blustering wind and pounding rain outside as I say goodbye to Ann and Larry – yet somehow, I’m feeling like it’s the perfect weather to have a glass of rosé and live a little bit.
- Curried squash soup
- Paella, Spanish flavors
- Collioure anchovy salad with hard boiled egg, roasted peppers, a drizzle of olive oil
- Indian or Middle Eastern food
- Bonny Doon,
- Donkey & Goat
- Fiddlehead Cellars
- J Lohr
- Handley Cellars
- Roederer Estate
- Yorkville Cellars