Sunday, July 14, 2024

7 Best Rosés to Pair With Jalapeños, According to Sommeliers

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Born on the algorithm and primed for patio sipping, spicy rosé is one heck of a polarizing summer drink. This playful wine pairing marries bright, citrusy notes with fresh jalapeño peppers, bringing a balanced profile to an otherwise sweet alcohol.

Despite this quality, it’s amassed its fair share of both devotees and devoted haters (online and off). At PS, we’re not one to deny anyone the simple pleasure of a jalapeño-infused rosé — so if you fall in the latter group, kindly keep it to yourself.

Whether you love it (or love to hate it), TikTok-approved spicy rosé just so happens to be one of those trendy drinks you need to test for yourself. Rest assured that if you know what to look for, there’s no need to feel intimidated when pairing a bottle of rosé with a bit of spice.

PS asked two sommeliers to prep us for heading to the wine shop, including which bottles they’d easily recommend.

Experts Featured in This Article

Cerise Zelenetz is the owner of Cherry On Top, a natural wine bar in Brooklyn.

Tahiirah Habibi is a sommelier and founder of The Hue Society, a community-based organization focused on creating resources for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people in the wine industry.

What Exactly Is Spicy Rosé?

The beauty of spicy rosé lies in its versatility and accessibility. This drink simply includes three to four slices of deseeded jalapeño that are then infused, stirred, or muddled in rosé. We already know that TikTok is well-acquainted with a glass of this spicy wine, as the trendy drink’s picked up speed over there in the past couple years. (Some believe it originated with creator @AllyssaInTheKitchen, but it’s hard to say for sure.)

Depending on the region and blend of grapes, your rosé bottle’s profile can run anywhere from bold, juicy flavors to light and floral notes. When it comes to pairing spicy flavors, sommelier and founder of The Hue Society Tahiirah Habibi says to lean on the lighter side with a fruit-forward and lower-alcohol wine. You could also consider a sparkling version for a playful spritz situation.

New to trying spicy rosé? Habibi suggests selecting a straightforward, cost-effective bottle when first dipping your toe into a drink trend. Either way, always check in with the wine shop attendant or sommelier if you’re unsure on what to get.

“Here, you’re looking for something that’s really fruit-forward — it doesn’t necessarily have to be sweet — or something that’s off-dry, which is different,” Habibi says. “If you’re going into a store or wine shop, that’s the verbiage you’d like to use . . . If you use that language, you’ll arrive at what you’re looking for when working with jalapeños.”

Once you’ve secured your bottle, you can get down to the actual pour. Before dropping in those thinly-sliced peppers, sommelier Cerise Zelenetz says to always remove the seeds first. While some drinkers might prefer the heat of a full pepper slice, she explains that deseeding ultimately creates a better drinking experience and presentation (a key consideration if you’re hosting). “A gentle bit of spice, without the seeds, gives it just a little kick,” she tells PS.

Excited to spice up your next glass of pink wine? No matter which way you slice it, both sommeliers share their top bottle recommendations for a balanced spicy rosé.

The 7 Best Rosés to Pair With Jalapeños, According to Sommeliers

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Described as crisp and breezy, this bottle is just light enough to pair with a spicy garnish. A noticeable tartness and notes of strawberries also play well with this combo.

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Looking for something a bit more fruit-forward? Habibi recommends this South African wine, which offers yummy notes of cotton candy, peaches, and berries to cut the jalapeño’s sharp acidity.

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Notes of grapefruit and apricot take the lead with this Italian bubbly, providing a perfectly light canvas for contrasting spice. Zelenetz calls it “effervescent.”

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Natural wine works unbelievably well in this drink formula. This bottle from Mexico is a bit tougher to track down, but we’ve heard it comes with major flavor payoff.

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Headed on warm-weather adventures and forgot to pack a wine opener? Try picking up a pack of this exceptional California canned rosé, which brings flavors of stone fruit (think: apricot) and bright citrus

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Zelenetz highlights this crisp, Washington state rosé as one of her top picks for a spicy glass. You’ll likely notice fresh notes of rosewater, peach, and grapefruit oil — and it doesn’t hurt that the bottle is so dang cute, either.

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Try this highly awarded Italian bottle for an intimate date night or catch-up with close friends. It arrives with bright, floral aromas and a refined freshness that’s ideal for both beginners and seasoned spicy rosé drinkers.

Nicolette Baker is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her expertise lies primarily in food, drink, and fashion media, but she enjoys covering all aspects of lifestyle with an accessible approach. She’s written for Food & Wine, Byrdie, Business Insider, VinePair, and Flourish.

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