A Dozen Rosés

Area wine experts select wines for your sweetie, give insight into the latest trend.

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but rosé wine can run from sweet to dry, light to dark, and most of us don’t have a clue what we’re buying. That’s where the wine experts in your neighborhood come in.
Dan Keyport, owner of Dolce Vita Wine Shop; Michael Clausen, owner of The Vintage; Jim Slattery, owner of Haskell’s in Chanhassen; and Tana Wold, purchasing manager at Eden Prairie Liquors, helped us put together a list of rosés to suit your (and your loved one’s) taste, and explained what it is about rosé wine that’s sweeping the nation.

“Rosés have been the next big thing for about 10 years,” Keyport says. “This last summer was the most interest we’ve seen since I’ve been in the business.” The reason behind that could be millennials, who are more “willing to explore” wine, he says.

Clausen says he thinks consumers are traveling more and increasing their knowledge. “It’s dry, elegant and refreshing,” he says. “Not your grandmother’s rosé.”

This Valentine’s Day, we recommend following the trend. So ditch the bouquet, and consider a dozen rosés:

Alloy Wine Works’ Everyday Rosé
Rosé might be trending, but wine in a can is the next big thing. This rosé has hints of kiwi, guava, watermelon and rose petals with a tart kick that can be casual in the can or poured into your nicest stemware. $7.99 for 16 oz. cans; Haskell’s

Pedroncelli Dry Rosé of Zinfandel
Made from Zinfandel grapes, this rosé offers a deeper color with notes of rose petal and cherry. It’s both refreshing and tart. $10.99; The Vintage

Pamplemousse Rosé
A blend of dry rosé and grapefruit juice, it’s delicious on its own, says Keyport, but the French like to use it as a base for cocktails. It’s citrusy and versatile. $11.95; Dolce Vita Wine Shop

Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé
If you’re drinking rosé because it looks great in your social media posts, pick this perfectly pink wine. It’s pretty and has bright berry flavors with a clean finish. $13.95; Dolce Vita Wine Shop

Fleurs de Prairie
Clausen says this French rosé has increased in popularity at his shop. A deep breath will remind you of strawberries, rose petals and herbs, and the brightness is great with a meal or as an aperitif. $14.99; The Vintage

Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rosé of Sangiovese
Wold says this is her favorite of domestic rosés, and it is extremely versatile with food pairings. This California wine is light coral orange in color with aromas of blood orange, white peach and white tea. $15.99; Eden Prairie Liquor

Bayle Carreau Cremant de Bordeaux Rosé
This sparkling wine will impress your Valentine’s Day date, and its demi-sec (half-sweet, half-dry) classification makes it “kind of an oddball” that will delight, says Keyport. $16.95; Dolce Vita Wine Shop

The Emily Rosé
This blend of chardonnay and pinot noir grape varietals creates notes of crisp and clean apples and pears, and is perfect with roasted chicken or baked ham. The folks at Haskell’s say it’s “one of the most exciting wines to ever be released from South Africa.” $16.99; Haskell’s

Commanderi de la Bargemone Rosé
This is a staff favorite at The Vintage, says Clausen. It’s a dry rosé with a strawberry and red currant aroma, perfect for sipping year-round. $17.99; The Vintage

Field Recordings’ Fiction Rosé
This California wine starts with cherry and berry notes with hints of baking spice and finishes with a cranberry tartness. $17.99; Haskell’s

Couteaux du Giennois Rosé of Pinot Noir
Keyport says this is his go-to that can nearly always be found in his refrigerator. It’s pale pink with aromas of peach and nectarine, light-bodied and refreshingly tart. $19.95; Dolce Vita Wine Shop

Whispering Angel Rosé
“I could drink this wine with any meal,” Wold says. The high-acidity French wine is an extremely pale salmon-pink and has a creamy feel with peach, mango and white cherry flavors. $21.99; Eden Prairie Liquor   

Cheers to Chocolate

Wine and chocolate—the perfect (and popular) pairing for Valentine’s Day gifts. In Waconia, picking up melt-in-your-mouth chocolates for your loved one is steps away at Laketown Chocolates.

The parent company, Custom Chocolate, has been around for over 30 years, but Larry Wilhelm bought the company in 2009 and initiated the retail store, Laketown Chocolates, in 2012. While everything they make is handcrafted, Wilhelm says, “We’re best known for our chocolate sea salt caramels. But most of the comments I get are about the variety.”

There are over 3,000 chocolate shapes to choose from throughout the year, and the types of sweets vary too, including eight flavors of recently added fudge. Peanut butter swirl, turtle fudge, maple walnut and brownie batter fudge are just a few of the offerings.

Around Valentine’s Day, expect those red heart-shaped boxes to fill the shop. And if you are looking for sweets for a sweetie, assorted boxes with both milk and dark chocolate make for a great gift, but don’t forget your wine pairing.

“Usually, you want to pair chocolates to the sweetness or dryness of a wine,” Wilhelm says. “The dryer the wine, the darker the chocolate,” which means you will want to take note of the type of rosé you purchase. Or, go for fool-proof: “Salted chocolates are fair game for any type of wine,” he says.