Seth Gross and Craig Heffley, the owners of Durham's Wine Authorities (2501 University Drive, 489-2884, www.wineauthorities.com), know that some people's opinion of pink wines is equal to some guys' view of pink shirts. They want to change this, so every summer, they encourage customers to drink the pink.
"Unfortunately, in the U.S., many people still associate pink wines with sugary sweet flavors," Gross wrote on the store's blog. "We are passionate for the drier versions—the best of a white wine with some of the qualities of a red wine. Pink wines are food-friendly, easy to drink in social situations; they don't weigh you down, and offer lots of bright acidity so you taste every sip."
To promote the concept, Gross and Heffley built a "rosé garden," complete with picket fence and garden gnome. Inside the fence are their highest-recommended rosés from estate-grown, family-owned wineries around the world. (Watch the garden grow in a video on their Web site.) They also donate a portion of sales from these wines to the N.C. Triangle chapter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, raising more than $1,600 so far.
Other local proprietors are also embracing the pink. Lex Alexander, owner of 3Cups (227 S. Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, 968-8993, 3cups.net) chimed in recently on his store blog: "We really like the stuff!"
Alexander goes on to explain that rosé "refers to a style of wine and not a grape or a place. It can be made anywhere and can be made from any red wine grape, and so appears in almost every area that makes wine. The richest rosé traditions come from Mediterranean Europe.
"Traditionally rosé is made when red grapes are crushed and then have only brief contact between the skins, which contain the colored pigments and tannins, and the juice, which comes from the colorless flesh of the grape. It is the degree of contact between the skins and the juice that determines the final color of the wine."
3Cups carries a selection of certified organic, authentic rosés from across Europe, and is featuring rosés in its June "3Bottles" monthly wine club.
I've found a nonalcoholic way to drink some pink. I combined some strawberry-hibiscus syrup made by April McGreger (aka The Farmer's Daughter, farmersdaughterbrand.com) bought at the Carrboro Farmers' Market ($7 a bottle) with plain ol' seltzer, for my own pink spritzer. At her booth recently, McGreger was serving up strawberry limeades. Of course, her offerings track with the seasons, so she may be mixing up different flavors soon.
In Raleigh, the Red Room Tapas Lounge (510 Glenwood Ave., 835-1322, www.redroomraleigh.com) is going pink, too, by supporting the 2009 Komen N.C. Triangle Race for the Cure, June 13 at Meredith College. The race supports breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs. The "Red Room goes pink" program means the restaurant donates to the cause 10 percent of sales every Sunday in June.
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