Cheers June 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 28 of 43 29 June 2016 • boost. "We find especially when our patio opens in April, we sell a lot of rosé out there, and the early bar crowd buys an awful lot as well," says chef/owner William Kovel. "Even at lunchtime as the weather warms, we find Thursdays and Fridays tend to be a bit more leisurely, and we see our rosé sales go up." Kovel—also a Level II sommelier— loves rosés for several reasons. "It's food-versatile and perfectly great to drink at any occasion," he says. Rosés can have "beautiful acidity and body and they match up to food so well, from lobster—which to me goes better with rosé than chardonnay—to cheese, ham and melon and all the classics," Kovel adds. Claudette in New York offers a minimum of a dozen or so rosés by the bottle and a few by the glass year round. That's ramped up in the summer, with up to 25 available, as well as a draft rosé that sells extremely well, says Claudette's beverage director Nick Porpiglia. BEYOND PROVENCE While the cuisine at Claudette fits best with Provence style of rosé, other operators are casting a wider net by looking around for wines from other regions. The all-Greek wine menu at Molyvos in New York creates numerous pink opportunities. The midtown restaurant carries 12 rosés, most available by the glass, made from Greek varietals including moschofilero, agiorgitko, xinomavro and mandilaria, says wine director Kamal Kouiri. Most of the rosés are indigenous grape varieties, though some are blends with international varietals to show what Greek winemakers are doing. "With more familiar grapes, customers are more willing to try, and that gives them an entry point to both Greek winemaking and rosés," Kouiri says. "Greek cuisine is helped by rosé and vice versa. I do well with them all year long; in winter, those that are a little dryer and bigger can handle moussaka or lamb better," says Kouiri. Campbell says less-familiar rosés from Portugal or Greece might require a different sort of selling approach for unfamiliar customers. But training and tasting staff on the wines is important in overcoming any hesitation. At Catalyst, Kovel relies on staff interaction to keep the less-common pink wines flowing. "The staff really love the opportunity to try a different wine every day; when we offer the 'rosé of the day,' we open one and talk about it first," he says. "Having them know about it is a great marketing tool." When customers are reluctant to think pink, a offering them taste can help. Many guets don't know much about Greek rosés, Kouiri says. "Now we give them an ounce to try, and they often say they never experienced that. And that's how we move them from white to rosé." HEAVY DEMAND So popular have rosés of all sorts become that the ordering process has become significantly competitive. It doesn't help that many producers offer limited releases, and much of it is brought to market when there is still ice on the street. Kovel says a number of his most- popular roses that sell through the winter are now allocated, and there's a limited amount he can actually get in stock. "For a couple, we hold some back and spread it out throughout the course of the season, so we are able to serve some in September," he notes. Indeed, preordering is essential as demand for rosé continues to grow, Campbell says. "Basically, you order for the year, because you want the current vintage year, and they seem to have a difficult time keeping up with demand so we need to order early," she explains. "When I started doing this, it was something you ordered when it came in, but now it's more of a presale basis," Porpiglia says. "Before you can even taste it, you're having to commit to some things." PINK FOR ALL SEASONS Rosé sales may accelerate in warmer weather, but many sommeliers, especially in seafood and Mediterranean cuisine restaurants, are extending the season. At Claudette, "We try to keep it going year round because our cuisine is southern French-Moroccan, and they match perfectly" with rosé, says Porpiglia. "Some are harder to get ahold of, but we also carry some older, higher-end roses that can last a few years in a bottle and we sell them year round," he notes. While Porpiglia thinks a fine rosé might peak priced at about $55 per bottle, the occasional connoisseur may take the plunge and spend more once in a while. The casual reputation of rosé makes it a good seller for light dining or bar drinking. "Younger people are drinking more rosé, especially at the bar and in our cafe area," Porpiglia says. "It's more easygoing there, and rosé goes well with small bites and mezze." Cuisine aside, rosé has found some wintertime success— even in the frigid Midwest. "We went through almost ten cases of rosé last winter. For a small restaurant, that's incredible, considering it's usually freezing cold out here then," says Ford. Porpiglia agrees. "People are warming up to the idea that it doesn't need just to be a warm-weather wine, that it does things that white wines don't in many cases. All kinds of rosé styles can fit all times of year." Jack Robertiello is a spirits writer based in Brooklyn, NY. IN the PINK Catalyst restaurant in Cambridge, MA, sells more rosé when its patio opens in April.

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