Inside Stories

Think Pink for Kentucky Derby Weekend


(Click the link to watch the Grapefully Yours Wine Podcast on where Jim Campanini and co-host Mike Pigeon drink and discuss rose` wines.)


The best three-year-old thoroughbreds in the world will be running for the roses on Saturday at Churchill Downs in the 149th edition of the Kentucky Derby

The race goes off at 6:57 p.m. (At the end of this column are my three longshot picks.)

But instead of drinking mint juleps and wearing a funny hat, I’ll be running for the rose`s and drinking a light, airy and elegant pink wine.

Nowadays, rose` wines are cool. They’re being all over the world in unique terroirs and from a variety of grapes that produce distinctive aromas and juicy flavors.

The best of breed embody structure and complexity and can be consumed all-year round. Rose` wines are especially good pairings with seafood, chicken and light pasta dishes and creamy cheeses of all kinds.

Here are eight rose`s to get you started. Most are available in Massachusetts and New Hampshire stores.

(As a special note, on Saturday from 1-4 p.m., the Wine ConneXtion on Main Street in Andover will be holding a free tasting of 20 international and U.S. rose` wines. They’ll be selling at discounted prices too.)

Honoro Vera Rose` 2021, Spain, $10, abv.12.5% – A fruity, refreshing rose` made from 100 percent organic Tempranillo grapes. Can’t beat the price on this splendid Spanish beverage, which satisfies the tastebuds with watermelon, strawberry and citrus notes.

Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rose` 2021, Pfalz, $11.99, abv. 11.5% – From Germany’s Rhine River Valley where Pinot Noir thrives in the cool climate sunshine comes this nice, easy-drinking rose`. It’s got an off-dry edge to it and good red-berry flavor and aromatics.

Bertrand Cotes des Roses Rose` 2021, Languedoc, $11, abv. $13 – A summertime favorite of mine for its clean, crisp, vivacious blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault varietals. Good balance, soft and citrusy.

MiMi En Provence Grand Reserve Rose 2022, France, $14.99, abv. 13% – A stylish rose` from the Cotes de Provence where this delicate, pink, dry wine is famously fresh and delicious. A Grenache-Syrah-Cinsault blend that makes sipping rose` so enjoyable as an aperitif or with light food dishes and appetizers.

Berne Inspiration Rose` 2022, Provence, $19.99, abv. $13% – Chateau de Berne is one of southern France’s most beautiful estates featuring a 5-star Michelin restaurant, two private villas for guests, and a world-class spa. Its 350 acres of vines are all farmed organically. Berne Inspiration fits the bill as a luxury rose` in its stylish packaging and delightfully exotic fruit tastes. The Grenache-Cinsault-Syrah-Carignan mix is nearly bone dry and delivers a lingering finish. Wine Enthusiast magazine gave it 90 points. A special rose` for special occasions.

Whispering Angel Rose 2021, Provence, $21, 13% – Since its introduction to the U.S. market in 2007, when 800 cases were sold, Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel has become a pink movement of its own as France’s No.1 best-selling rose` from California to Martha’s Vineyard. Americans consume nearly 350,000 bottles a year. Cool, clean and bright, this smooth pale pink rose` tingles the palate with strawberry and cherry flavors. A nice minerally dry finish begs another sip.

Studio by Miraval, Provence, $14.99, abv. 12.5% – A lower-cost option from its famed brethren Chateau Miraval ($24.99), Studio carves out a niche as a unique four-grape blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle and Tibouren. Loaded with citrusy flavors, the wine flows light and feathery on the palate and ends crisply. Nearly a decade ago, the Perrin Family, one of France’s top vintners, joined with actors Brad Pitt and his former wife, Angelina Jolie, to revive Chateau Miraval’s wine house. They brought the premium Chateau Miraval rose` to market in 2012 and made it a success and launched Studio in 2019. Pitt, who continues to battle Jolie in court over legal matters pertaining to her 50 percent sale of Miraval to outside interests, has stayed on with Perrin in making vineyard decisions. Over the past several years, the team has launched two Miraval champagnes.

Julia’s Dazzle 2022, Washington State, $20, abv. 13.4% – Long Shadows Vintners founder Allen Shoup, who died this past year, named this impeccably crafted dry rose` for his granddaughter Julia. Winemaker Gilles Nicault uses 100% Pinot Gris grapes from Columbia Valley in this gorgeous, translucent wine that imparts bright notes of orange zest, strawberry and ripe melon. One of my favorites, Julia’s Dazzle is a limited production rose` that sometimes makes it way into New Hampshire Wine & Liquor Outlets, so be on the lookout. Otherwise, contact





Jim Campanini’s longshot picks for the 149th Kentucky Derby.

  1. Two Phils, 12-1: Trainer Larry Rivelli’s first Derby entrant has hit the board in four consecutive graded stakes races, winning two of them. He’s improved his pace and speed figures each time, and boasts the last best Brisnet speed figure (107) of all 20 Derby rivals. His jockey, Jareth Loveberry, bears a name for celebration. Post Position No. 3
  2. Disarm, 30-1: Trainer Steve Asmussen has this young steed peaking at the right time. He loves to run late, and the 1 1/4 mile Derby distance should find Disarm closing in the shadows of the Twin Spires with jockey Joel Rosario in the irons. Post Position No. 11
  3. Angel of Empire, 8-1: If the odds hold, this could be an $18 win ticket for loyal supporters of trainer Brad Cox. This bay colt ran like Pegasus in easily winning the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, going the last furlong in a supersonic 12 seconds. Hey, speed wins, and Angel of Empire could end up blistering the KD course with jockey Flavien Pratt playing Gabriel Trumpet’s down the stretch. Post Position No. 14.

One response to “Think Pink for Kentucky Derby Weekend”

  1. Ellen Andre says:

    These wines all sound great, many I haven’t tried. I love that you included your Derby picks too.

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