Rosé all day with 100 wines featured at Whip In’s 6th Annual Pink Mahal

Photo by Matt McGinnis. Try a variety of different rosé wines at Whip In’s returning Pink Mahal tasting this weekend.

Rosé is red-hot, and the Whip In knows it.

The 6th Annual Pink Mahal, a celebration of rosé wine, returns this weekend with the largest selection of rosé in the city: about 100 available for tasting (although tickets will only supply you three glasses, so choose well).

Arguably, the wine and beer bar, Indian restaurant, live music venue and bottle shop in South Austin knew how good rosé is a couple of years before it became such a sought-after style of wine. (The Whip In did the same with craft beer, too, in the Budweiser-dominant 1980s and ’90s.) The wine, previously scorned as pink wine or blush wine, has achieved its near-universal popularity only in the last few years.

Rosé wine —  a style that gets more color from grape skin contact than white wine but not enough to be considered red wine — is in the midst of a heyday, especially in Texas, where the wine is a refreshing complement to our hot, hot summers. It’s not hard to guess why we want rosé all day.

In addition to coming in shades in between red and white wine, the diverse rosé is a perfect middle ground between them: able to be made with a variety of red wine grapes but resulting in a lighter body and brighter flavors more similar to white wine.

From 1 to 5 p.m. on May 20, both Whip In’s patio and wine bar will have rosé exclusively, having both large-format bottles and even some of the wine on tap. The $35 tickets get you three glasses of any of the rosé and access to an appetizer bar with “plenty of pink-friendly pairings,” according to Whip In. Additional glasses can be purchased for $5.

Don’t miss the Dandy Rosé from Rae Wilson of Wine for the People, which is helping to produce the event. Made with all Texas-grown grapes, the wine is a dry French-style rosé — an example of the delicious locally grown and produced wines that Texas excels at making.

Why Texas is made for rosé wines

In Texas, it’s never been easier to enjoy rosé all day.

Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Texas-grown rosés were spotlighted at a recent wine event.
Photo by Arianna Auber / American-Statesman. Texas-grown rosés were spotlighted at a recent wine event.

The inaugural Texas Wine Revolution on Sunday brought together a variety of these Texas-grown wines — each with their own flavorful nuances and refreshing, beat-the-heat qualities.

William Chris Vineyards’ event proved that Texas excels at making this increasingly popular style of wine. In fact, grape growers and winemakers in the state are now deliberately setting aside acreage to make rosé, which used to be (and sometimes still is) a mere byproduct in the production of making red wine. By growing grapes for rosé — which isn’t made the same way as its red counterpart — producers are raising the quality of the wine.

“We have the perfect climate and weather for rosé,” Doug Lewis of Johnson City’s Lewis Wines said at a VIP panel before the Texas Wine Revolution officially kicked off. “Texas, especially the Hill Country and the High Plains, has a competitive advantage in making a good rosé. We’ve had to figure out what nature is giving us, and rosé seems to be one of those things. And it really doesn’t take long to make those wines.”

They are the money makers for many winemakers because “they don’t need time in the barrel or bottle,” he said. And with sales of rosé wine at a 52 percent increase, there’s even more reason for wine producers to make them.

Here are three (my favorites at the fest) that demonstrate Texas’ distinct ability to make good rosés:

  • Becker Vineyards Jolie 2014: A recent award winner, this dry everyday wine “is filled with floral notes of strawberry, peach and violet,” according to Becker.
  • William Chris Vineyards 2015 Cinsault Rosé: Made with a grape that’s showing promise in Texas, it lures you in with notes of berry and orange and keeps you hooked with fresh sage.
  • McPherson Cellars 2015 Les Copains Rosé: The Lubbock winery knows how to make a consistently good rosé, with crisp acidity and delicate fruitiness balancing out herbal notes.

Inaugural Texas Wine Revolution showcases state’s best rosés

Brennan Vineyards' 2015 Dry Rosé will be one of the delicious rosés at the Texas Wine Revolution.
Brennan Vineyards’ 2015 Dry Rosé will be one of the delicious rosés at the Texas Wine Revolution on Sunday.

In the Hill Country, William Chris Vineyards is bringing wine lovers an event that will allow us to enjoy rosé all day, a type of wine that has been in vogue of late.

And not just any rosé — the winery’s inaugural Texas Wine Revolution on Sunday will feature all Texas-made rosés from some of the best wineries in the state, including Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards and McPherson Cellars. (McPherson’s Les Copains Rosé is regularly regarded as a top choice among publications like Texas Monthly.)

William Chris Vineyards decided to put together the event, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at the winery’s Hye location, to showcase the distinct terroir of Texas.

“We are seeing a revolution in wine growing here in Texas, where winemakers are producing different styles of Texas grown wine reflecting more of our culture, terroir and cuisine,” William Chris winemaker and owner Chris Brundrett said in a press release. “Rosé is one of those incredibly versatile wines that goes with a wide variety of foods. This event will showcase where those wines are grown, who is making them and what local chefs are pairing with them.”

In addition to the more than 20 wineries showing off their rosés, the Texas Wine Revolution will also feature local food purveyors, live music and picnic areas “readied for guests lounging among the Texas vines,” according to the release.

The $50 tickets, which you can purchase at the Texas Wine Revolution website, will get you “a six-bottle tote bag, a souvenir wine glass, a booklet with information about each winery that will double as a passport, tastings of more than 20 Texas-grown rosés, the opportunity to purchase bottles and glasses from participating wineries, live entertainment, complimentary valet parking, and samples from local food vendors,” according to the release.

Future Texas Wine Revolution events are going to feature different Texas-grown varietals each year.

For more about why Texas rosés are just so good, check out this American-Statesman column I wrote last summer about them. And for more information about the event, visit texaswinerevolution.com.

Downtown bar Small Victory adds wine-filled happy hour

Contributed by Small Victory. This tiny bar on Seventh Street, off Congress Avenue, is introducing happy hour soon.
Contributed by Small Victory. This tiny bar on Seventh Street, off Congress Avenue, is introducing happy hour soon.

Austinites are serious about our happy hour deals — and we’ve got another one to try out starting on Tuesday.

The downtown bar Small Victory, which has been making its mark on the local bar scene with a curated list of classic cocktails, is launching happy hour that will run 5 to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Happy hour will feature half-priced fortified wines — sherry, madeira and port — as well as sparkling and rosé wines by the glass and by the bottle. It’s an opportunity to try some off-the-beaten-path wines that don’t always make traditional wine lists.

“The wine program at Small Victory is small, but thoughtful, and focused on quality above all else,” according to a news release. “All of the wines are ‘natural,’ small production, authentic examples of their particular regions from producers considered to be best-in-class by journalists, merchants, sommeliers, and other members of the wine trade.”

While you’re there, you’ll probably be lured into try Small Victory’s cocktails as well, in particular the martinis that you can order based on your exact specifications with the help of a flowchart on the menu. Longtime Austin bartender Josh Loving opened Small Victory as a way to shine renewed light on lesser-known classic drinks like the Artists’ Special, with Scotch whisky, sherry, grenadine and lemon juice.

The tiny 800 sq. ft. bar is located at 108 E. Seventh St. For more information, visit facebook.com/smallvictorybar/.