Dispatch from Aspen's Food & Wine Classic

June 2008
Trends: Rosé Wine After decades of getting a bad rap, rosé (aka pink wine) is getting its due. We're not talking syrupy white Zin here. No, we're talking about the delicate blend of (usually) Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes that compose this "fresh-squeezed wine," according to national wine expert and author Mark Oldman. We caught Oldman's Rosé Renaissance seminar over the weekend at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, and while tasting six excellent rosés (ranging in color from light pink to strawberry red and priced from $12 a bottle to $90), we learned that all good rosé has a mouthwatering quality. "They're lemony, citrusy--great rosés act like a lemon squeeze on food," says Oldman. In other words, forget about sweet. These refreshing food wines, which often have strawberry and almond qualities, are the ultimate summer sip to pair with fish or even barbecue (if you're drinking 2007 Dominio Del Plata Crios de Susana Balbo from Mendoza, Argentina). The uptick in rosé popularity has trickled down to the local level; for proof, just check the shelves of your local wine shop. Or, dine at the recently reviewed Black Pearl, and check out a perfect pairing of 2006 Van Duzer rosé and chef Sean Huggard's herb gnocchi with strawberries and Brie. Sample a few more at Strings' annual five-course rosé dinner ($75 per person) on June 25. Black Pearl, 1529 S. Pearl St., 303-777-0500; Strings Restaurant, 1700 Humboldt St., 303-831-7310 From the Magazine: Aspen Sommelier Richard Betts Read "Uncorked," Shari Caudron's feature on three days with master sommelier Richard Betts at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, from this month's issue of 5280. Betts shares his top 10 down-to-earth pours with online readers in this Web exclusive. Pit Stop: The Ugly Cookie Company On our way back from Aspen, we stopped for a pick-me-up at The Ugly Cookie Company in Leadville. Open just two weeks, the sunny shop specializes in fresh-baked cookies in 11 flavors, plus homemade granola and cakes. Of the cookies tempting us, we chose three: white chocolate-macadamia nut, spiced pumpkin piped with lemon cream-cheese frosting, and a mountain-man medley chock full of oats, raisins, cranberries, carrot, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and coconut. The treats were indeed ugly--thin and poorly risen--but they were big, chewy, and delicious, a commendable feat considering the shop is located at 10,152 feet. Our only concern: With three huge cookies costing less than $5, we're worried the spot won't be able to make ends meet. 717 ½ Harrison St., Leadville, 970-389-9655