A glass of rosé on the patio on a sunny spring day is fine. Soaking in a waterfront view while sipping one (or several) of eleven pink options while sitting at a retro metal table under an umbrella whose stripes match your beverage? Now that’s divine.
This is exactly the idea behind the Rosé Garden, which just opened next to Whaley’s in the the heart of Yard’s Park. The Garden seats 30, though seating is first come, first served, and the maximum party size allowed is six. (So select your fellow rosé guzzling friends wisely.) It’s open Monday through Friday from 5 p.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m.-10 p.m. for those of you who like to maximize your weekend day drinking.
The list of rotating rosés was created by wine and beverage director Brian Zipin and spirits and bar manager Nick Miller, with several available by the glass, and the rest by the bottle. Highlights include the 2016 Rubentis Txakolina ($52/bottle), a blend of hondarrabi zuri and hondarrabi beltza (two funky grapes indigenous to Spain’s Basque region) that’s tart, zingy and slightly effervescent. Zipin and Miller call it one of the great rosés coming out of the country, and a match for spicy tuna ‘n'duja with Calabrian chilies and olive oil crostini ($15). The 2016 Ripe Life Wines Clambake ($12/glass, $44/bottle) from Mendocino, California was made for shellfish, they say. “It bursts with summer red fruit and citrus, but retains acidity and dryness which makes it perfect to pick up the sweetness of crab.” Try it with rich Maryland crab toast ($20) with uni butter, whose decadence is tempered a wee bit by radish and pickled Fresno chili.
Lots of great rosé-heavy regions are represented on the menu, from Provence and the Loire Valley in France, to Burgenland in Austria, to Marlborough in New Zealand. (And Virginia wine lovers will be tickled, um, pink, to see the 2016 Early Mountain Vineyards Rosé ($46/bottle), a blend of merlot and syrah that touts gorgeous white peach, lemon, honeysuckle and minerality.) “All of these regions are producing wonderful rosé in a variety of styles, [which] is a great opportunity for guests to experience and taste known and lesser-known varieties from all over the world,” Zipin and Miller say.
The duo also hopes the options may be eye-opening for people who erroneously believe that you have to always drink just-bottled pink wines. (The Rosé Garden offers up both 2016 and 2015.) “Some rosé benefit greatly from a year in the bottle, and you don’t have to drink the current vintage,” Zipin says. “A rosé like Domaine Brana Harri Gorri will have much more complexity after a year of aging.” Those signature fruity aromas of candied watermelon, strawberry and cherry often evolve into something much cooler, including dried herbs and floral notes.
And what if you (gasp!) just aren’t into rosé? The patio has you covered, with Highballs like a Hendrick’s Gin and strawberry tonic with cucumber bitters, and a Brugal 1888 Gran Reserva Rum with Seville orange soda and Angostura Bitters, as well as frozen concoctions including a creamy Pina Colada and a boozier Corpse Reviver #2, all priced at $14. You can also order the Cocktail #1 from Whaley’s, a Frosé of sorts with Crémant Rosé, St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, white rum and grapefruit juice.
See you on the patio!