“Nobody has 40 rosés,” boasts general manager Josep Prats of the seasonal wine list he curated for Coppa Osteria. “Restaurants in Houston have two, three, four rosés at most. Sommeliers around the country believe in Riesling.” While Prats also enjoys the perfumy white during the summer, its complexity makes it challenging to pair with food. And so he offers Coppa’s customers a more approachable summertime option.
“Rosé is simple,” he says. “It’s a good introduction for people to get into the European style of wine, which is to drink it all day long.” Whereas your typical red or white starts at 13 percent ABV, rosés range from 11 to 12.5 percent alcohol, which means you can have a glass at lunch and more at dinner without feeling soused.
A decade ago, so-called pink wine was denigrated as being overly sweet, cheap, or both. But rosés aren’t necessarily sweet—they’re often dry, with a hint of tannin. “What gives rosé the color is contact with the skin after maceration,” says Prats of the winemaking process. “The longer you leave the skin of the grape, the deeper the red and the more tannic the rosé.”
While any red grape can be used, the most popular varietals are Tempranillo, which results in drier, oaky wine, and Zinfandel, which produces a very pink and—yes—very sweet wine. One of Prats’s favorites at Coppa is Il Poggione, made from Sangiovese grapes in Montalcino, Italy, which he compares to “the most beautiful, ripe strawberries you’ve ever had, but with a nice acidity.”
As for the wine’s reputation for cheapness, well, affordability isn’t a bad thing. Rosé is affordable because it isn’t aged and therefore takes less time to make. That lack of aging, meanwhile, makes the wine easier to pair with food—especially the southern Italian fare served at Coppa, whose richness rosé easily cuts through. “We’re not talking about complex, super-expensive wine,” says Prats. “This is rosé. Most of it is under 40 dollars. It’s fun.”