Rosé All Day — Takeaways from the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

Rosé, sparkling wine and a few delicious surprises

Our first trip to the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this weekend made it crystal clear why this mecca of fine living sells out year after year. Amazing things to eat and drink at every turn, celebrity chefs, a breathtaking Rocky Mountain backdrop, and best of all, so much knowledge, both from the expert lecturers and the attendees. A tasty, fun, and educational time was had by all. Here are just some of the highlights.

Rosé all day: Not surprising that this super-popular wine was everywhere we turned, in all of its glorious hues and styles.

Sparkling grows up: Although this wine has probably taken off lately because it’s fun and easy to drink, there is definitely a serious side to it, too. Makers are taking pride in crafting fine, single-vineyard sparkling wines that set them apart from the crowd, something that’s generally not been associated with sparkling.

Packaging hit: Tiny, convenient, dare we say “sexy,” single-serve cans of both still and sparkling wines abounded, across price points. Makers and drinkers are recognizing that good wine needn’t take itself so seriously. My soon-to-be-favorite camping go-to will be the Ramona 4-pack. Sparkling mixed with fresh ruby grapefruit juice — a so, so refreshing ready-to-drink cocktail from Jordan Salcito.

Pairing debate: Experts disagree about where wine is, and should be, going in the U.S. Some think it’s all about pairing. Wine’s purpose is to complement food. While others think wine should exist for its own sake.

Pairing debate continues: We’ve all watched as the alcohol content of wines has risen. It’s no longer uncommon to see 15% or higher on the label. The question is, what to pair with that? Delicious as it may be, nobody wants a grilled, marbled steak every night. According to the “wine for its own sake” proponents, that question’s paramount for Europeans who generally only drink wine with a meal. However, Americans don’t look at wine that way. We want wine that’s great on its own.

Anthony Giglio, Wine Columnist, Food & Wine: “Don’t judge a wine after your first sip!”

Cab Franc: No longer just the controversial “father of Cabernet Sauvignon,” this varietal is gaining traction, breaking free from its stereotypes, and standing on its own merits with beautiful new expressions. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of this wine in the near future.

Bobby Stuckey, sommelier, Partner of Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, CO, discussing Italian white wine at the Food & Wine Classic.

English wine: As the world warms up, opening new land to grapes, England is heating up as the next up-and-coming wine-growing region. We tasted several delicious offerings, including a delightful sparkling. Look for the “England” section to pop up soon at your favorite wine shops.

Did you attend the Food & Wine Classic? Tell us about it!