Pink wine lovers kicked off the early summer season in style here in Los Angeles from May 13 to May 15, 2016, as the annual La Nuit en Rosé festival descended on the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood. A celebration of all things rosé, La Nuit en Rosé moves from city to city extolling the virtues of that gorgeous quaff.
“We’re thrilled to return to Los Angeles for the second year, and celebrate the diversity of rosé wine at three unique weekend events: the Rosé Wine Pairing Dinner, Rosé Sunset Soirée and Rosé Pool Party,” explained Pierrick Bouquet, the founder of La Nuit en Rosé. “Rosé is not just a wine, it’s an experience and a lifestyle, and La Nuit en Rosé showcases the variety of occasions and moments that are perfect for enjoying rosé.”
We certainly really enjoyed the Rosé Wine Pairing Dinner, which took place on the patio of the Sky Bar of the Mondrian on Friday the 13, in the outdoor section of the hotel’s Ivory on Sunset restaurant. Chef Brian Malarkey (he of “Top Chef” fame and owner of Herringbone in Santa Monica) whipped up a four-course meal designed to be complemented with select rosés.
Passed appetizers including stuffed mushrooms and fish cakes as well as the ultra-fresh first course of Hamachi crudo with watermelon radish were enhanced with Champagne Duval-Leroy Prestige Premier Cru NV, a delicate salmon-pink hued bubbly with a touch of ginger on the nose.
It was really hard to put down that fluted glass of delightful champagne, but more courses and wines meant moving on, to a melt-in-your-mouth pan-seared sablefish, given a little kick with Fresno chilies and a creaminess by adding an avocado puree. Served with a refined Chateau d’Esclans Rock Angel 2014 Rosé from the Provence region of France, that crisp pale pink quaff balanced the slight spice of the dish.
Next up was another Chateau d’Esclans 2014 Rosé, the famed Garrus. So pale as to be almost translucent, this mostly old-vine Grenache-grape blend looks as if it might be almost flavorless, but the opposite is true. It’s a powerhouse of a wine, with tastes of strawberry and lemon with a strong acidic backbone and hints of salt. Malarkey paired it with pistachio-crusted rack of lamb; it also went exceedingly well with the vegetarian choice of flatbread with artichokes and salty Kalamata olives.
On both Saturday and Sunday, more rosé-loving Angelenos came out in full force for the two big La Nuit en Rosé tasting events, the poolside Rosé Sunset Soirée on Saturday evening, and the Rosé Pool Party at SkyBar on Sunday – both designed to pair with 50-plus rosé wines and champagnes being poured. Standouts of the tastings included offerings from famed French wineries including Gérard Bertrand, Champagne Pommery, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, Ackerman Rémy Pannier and those wonderful Chateau d’Esclans, along with rosés from Italy and the United States.
La Nuit en Rosé continues this summer in New York with a series of Rosé Cruises on Hudson River in the luxurious Hornblower Infinity Yacht, with sailings from June 9-11. Each event will feature a selection of over 150 rosés combined with fare from celebrated New York chefs, food partners, live music and a VIP Lounge. Then it is on to London, where a La Nuit en Rosé program similar to the one held in Los Angeles happens from June 24-26.
With so many cities embracing his events (many of the New York cruise dates are already sold out), Bouquet is sure to bring the party back to Los Angeles in 2017. “The concept behind La Nuit en Rosé was inspired by my passion for rosé wine, which boasts both incredible diversity as well as a growing following,” Bouquet explained. “Just last year, rosé wine saw over a 25-percent sales growth within the United States.”
We know we’ll be ready to try more rose when La Nuit en Rosé returns!