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Taste of Vail kicks off with a flurry

Despite light flurries, Vail was coming up pink roses and rosé today (April 2, 2014). The annual Taste of Vail launched a weekend of fine dining and sumptuous sipping with the Debut of Rosé. The signature first-day event, hosted by USA TODAY Travel, featured the release of dozens and dozens of 2013 rosé wines. “We’re excited to feature one of the hottest wine trends at this year’s Taste of Vail,” said Chris Chantler, president of Taste of Vail. “Not only will there be a huge variety rosé wines, Debut of Rosé is one of the first events to showcase newly released rosés from 2013.”

Damon Ornowski, Colorado-based master sommelier, gives tasters a lesson in what makes a good rose wine at Taste of Vail Rose Debut, sponsored by USA Today Travel
Damon Ornowski, Colorado-based master sommelier, gives tasters a lesson in what makes a good rose wine at Taste of Vail Rose Debut, sponsored by USA Today Travel Kimberly Lord Stewart
Taste of Vail Rose Debut
Taste of Vail Rose Debut Kimberly Lord Stewart

While the snow softly fell outside the wine tent, attendees sipped on blush wines with gloved hands and supped on small plates from local restaurants. The fare included everything from duck pastrami from Juniper Restaurant in Edwards, Colo. to Asian pork-belly street tacos from Tavern on the Square in Vail.

When Americans think of pink wine, they think sweet, which couldn’t be further from the truth. If you think you don’t like rosé wines, you may not have tried the right one. While working my way through the hundreds of wine lovers, more than one person remarked the tasting changed their mind about rosé wines. “I’ve never been much of a rose drinker,” says Chad Chisholm, owner of Custom Creations Photography in Denver. “Yet the varietals and the food pairings really opened by eyes.” I came to the same conclusion. And even though warmer weather is slow to arrive, rosés are beautifully suited to food, particularly summer menus and sipping in the sunshine. I found two pinks at the tasting that will be on my table very soon.

Costaripa Rosamara Chiaretto Garda Classico 2013
Region: Lombardy, Italy
Varietals: Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese, Barbera.
Avg. Price $13
www.costaripa.it

Why I like it: It’s hard to find fault with anything from the Lombardy region. It’s southwest of Lake Garda, where the Alps fall away into the lake. The micro-climate is ideal for wine grapes and memorable vacations (book your trip today). The climate create rosés that are gentle and fragrant, with mild tannins and just enough acidity to go pair perfectly with seafood. I tried it with a just shucked oyster topped with caviar. All it needed was a little sunshine and warmer temperatures.

Moshin Vineyards Vin Gris of Pinot Noir Rosé 2013
Region: Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
Varietals: 100% Pinot Noir
Avg Price: $24
www.moshinvineyards.com.

Why I like it: If all rosés tasted like Moshin, everyone would like rosés. It’s just complex and floral enough to get your attention. Soft strawberry and watermelon, with some vanilla, round it out. This wine is made by a free-run process, which means the grapes are not pressed. The weight of the fruit naturally presses the grapes and the juice is collected beneath, which means there is very little contact with the skins. This careful attention creates an elegant wine that is very food friendly.

Taste of Vail runs from April 2-5, 2014. For more information on tickets and tastings at Taste of Vail, follow this link: tasteofvail.com