First Blush

Alas, national Rosé day has come and gone. The last day for Americans to pour some pink wine and raise a toast was June 11… or was it?

The folks at Tarpy’s Roadhouse and Rio Grill extended the celebration through June 18 with a Rosé-specific menu of wines by the glass, samplers and a refreshing cocktail that defies the studious mixology trend. With just three ingredients, the “raspberry sorbet Rosé float” plays to complementary flavors. The bars share two items in common, the frozen treat and the new Grenache-heavy blend from the foremost champion of dry Rosé, Chateau d’Esclans, labeled The Beach by Whispering Angel.

At Tarpy’s, bartenders pour a raspberry vodka over a scoop of sorbet before topping with the wine. The creamy dollop has a calming effect on the spirit, offering a bright lift at first blush that becomes more intense as the fruity, floral bite of vodka and Rosé gather. Yet it remains cheerful throughout. At Rio they substitute St. Germain liqueur for the more prosaic spirit, giving depth to the floral friendliness of the wine. As the sorbet melts, the cocktail becomes richer.

Chateau d’Esclans has been credited with driving the popularity of Rosé in the U.S. Once discredited as a cloying beginner’s wine, their line of parched Rosés helped kindle demand.

Summer is the season that pairs best with pink wines. Spoon in a little sorbet and Rosé becomes a real treat.

TARPY’S ROADHOUSE is at 2999 Highway 68, Monterey, 647-1444, tarpys.com. Rio Grill is at 101 Crossroads Blvd., Carmel, 625-5432, riogrill.com.

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