Summer is the season for longer days, longer weekends, and a crisp glass of rosé to cool off from the Texas heat. laV sommelier Vilma Mazaite shares her seven favorites below.
Some of Vilma Mazaite's favorite rosé labels.
“What better way is there to celebrate summer than with a glass of rosé?” says Vilma Mazaite, advanced sommelier and managing partner of laV (1501 E. Seventh St., 512-391-1888). Mazaite doesn’t exactly need an excuse to celebrate right now, though—since debuting on the Austin restaurant circuit in March, laV has received numerous accolades from its patrons, in part due to the extensive wine collection Mazaite curated. Said impressive wine list comprises more than 1,200 labels, which are housed in an exquisite two-story room that is part wine cellar, part private dining room.
Through the remainder of the summer, Mazaite’s guests at laV can order a glass of rosé with any brunch entrée for only $12—and they’ll get the remainder of the bottle on the house. “It’s very cost-effective,” Mazaite tells us with a grin. Here, she shares her favorite summer rosés.
Region: Lake County, California Why Mazaite recommends it: “This is a very unusual rosé from California made from Portuguese grape varieties—Touriga Nacional and Tinto Cao. The only problem with this wine is that there is not enough of it. I tried this rosé last year and fell completely in love. It is very elegant, with flavors of red berries, smoke, and tarragon.”
Region: Guipúzcoa, Spain Why Mazaite recommends it: “I still remember my first taste of txakoli wine: I was having dinner with my friend in New York after her amazing trip to Spain. [She] was telling me all of her adventures, including harvest in Basque country: txakoli. Txakoli vineyards are so close to the ocean that the grapes get picked with a sea salt crust over them... it totally explains the almost salty minerality in all the wines that come from the region. This rosé is no exception. If you are looking for a fruit-forward wine, txakoli is not the one. It is a bright, fresh, slightly frizzante wine with hints of salty strawberry.” Pair it with: “Because of its low alcohol and light texture, this wine is amazing in the midst of Texas summer. Enjoy it with seafood!”
Region: Loire Valley, France Why Mazaite recommends it: “When we hear the name Sancerre, we automatically think sauvignon blanc. Red and rosé Sancerre wines are very rare—made from 100 percent pinot noir. This rosé has a perfect balance of intensity and fresh red fruit. Lucien Crochet over the years has become the synonym of consistency and quality: You can identify it by the first sip. Not the most affordable rosé, but worth every dollar.”
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon, France Why Mazaite recommends it: “Made from mostly Grenache grapes, this rosé [has] the most amazing value in the market.” Pair it with: “At laV we have been pouring this by the glass, and it is a perfect match to so many items on the menu—from niçoise salad to grilled fish. It has notes of Thai basil, citrus peel, and fresh melon.”
Region: Provence, France Why Mazaite recommends it: “Château Pradeaux represents one of the classic rosés from Bandol appellation in Provence. Made from 50/50 Mouvedre and Cinsault grapes, this is a more serious rosé that has power and complexity.” Pair it with: “This is a rosé that could and should be easily enjoyed year-round, especially in Texas. Just the thought of this wine makes me want boulabaise, baquette—and at least a bottle or two.”
Region: Bordeaux, France Why Mazaite recommends it: “I normally don't associate Bordeaux with rosé—this region is notorious for reds—but it was a wonderful surprise to discover Clara. This rosé is a perfect example of rosé that can actually age. It is a more serious wine with an almost red wine character—light tannins, rounder and plummier fruit.” Pair it with: “Because of its firmer structure, Clara can easily stand up to richer dishes like lamb tartare or roast chicken.”
Region: Provence, France Why Mazaite recommends it: “Made from the ancient and almost extinct grape Tibouren, this Provence rosé is unlike any other. Clos Cibonne is the only producer that is allowed to list Tibouren grape on the label. This rosé is aged at least one year before the release, so 2012 is the most recent vintage. It is aged under fleurette—a thin veil of yeast—meaning that the wine gets a light oxidation during the process.” Pair it with: “Try it with laV’s curry escargot, grilled fish, or lamb.”