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Normally, a penchant for shorts and flip-flops extended into Fall by unseasonably warm weather would be a major up-indicator for rosé. Retailers see the decline of rosé (suffering “seasonal affective drinking disorder”) by the time the ocean waters have become unforgiving cold and summer’s gone. Though seasons in Southern California are a bit more elastic, weather is just one factor for what can be found in my glass—food pairing and mood complete the theorem. Earlier this week I opened a bottle of rosé as the blush wine season (air quotes) hit the dimmer switch.

I had received a bottle of wine from a customer, a gift, something they were keen on and wanted me to try. I was told the story of the wine, recited facts that were impossible to check—due to a faulty link on the back label—, and in the end given a seven-fifty of an intriguing bottle of 2010 S&M Rosé. How would this gift, caught out of season, fare?

The color was gorgeous, a swatch that was painted a touch more Bandol than Tavel (salmon rather than intensely ruby hued), but a cross nonetheless. Serving it slightly chilled, I nosed the perfume that was redolent of ripe yellow plum, cranberry, Rainier cherry and tart apricot preserves. Youthful on the nose, as was the palate, brimming with more primary fruit notes: golden cherries and tart red berries rounded out by butterscotch and vanilla accents. The rosé weighed in at medium full, with medium acidity, leaving my mouth with the echoes of a robust finish.

Regardless of season it was perfect for the occasion, holding up to my charcuterie, as I knifed the salametto from Fra’Mani while reading about Cognac. Keeping things light. S&M Rosé served as a reminder that context is equally important, and sometimes, outweighs the season’s script. As the rosé season has officially ended and my wine stacks have to be rebuilt in favor of heartier red wines I will be content to sit on my personal stock of rosés like Domaine Tempier Rosé to cellar for later drinking—even in the dead of winter!

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