Time for a Piscine of Rosé + Great French Rosés

Whew! That was scary! As some of you mentioned, my blog vanished for a time. Happily, I got it back. Now, I’m working on a little retooling….Meanwhile, enjoy one of my favorite (and most popular) posts for summer.

TIME FOR A PISCINE OF ROSÉ + A GREAT ROSÉ FOR SUMMER

Do the French ever put ice in their wine? You bet they do. And it’s called a “Piscine de Vin”—a lovely name for a most refreshing thing.

A Piscine de Rose. Photo by the wine bloggists at Chalk and Cheese Blog. Used by permission.

Une Piscine de Rosé. Photo by the charming wine bloggists at Chalk and Cheese Blog. Used by permission. Read their post for another take on this great drink.

This year, I saw something in Côte d’Azur cafés that I hadn’t noticed that much in the past: goblet-sized wine glasses filled with wine (or sparking wine) and ice cubes.

Sure, in the past, I’d seen people request a few ice cubes from a waiter, then plunk a few in their wine on a hot day. But I don’t think I’d ever seen so many waiters show up at tables with pre-iced-up goblets filled with wine. And I’d never seen iced-up wine specifically on menus. Until now:

The "Piscine" of wine is popping up all over the place these days.

A French Apéro menu: The “Piscine” of wine is popping everywhere these days.

This year, it was all over the place. And, as it turns out, they have a name for it:

Not only do I ice up my wine. I'll ice up really good wines. Like this fabulous rosé from Tavel.

Not only do I ice up my wine. I’ll ice up really good wines. Like this fabulous Prieuré de Montézargues rosé from Tavel. About $23.

La Piscine de Rosé
or
La Piscine de Champagne

Literally, this means “A Pool of Rosé” (or Champagne). And isn’t that a lovely image? Just so refreshing. It cools you off just thinking about it.

Curiously, I didn’t see quite as many people drinking a “piscine de blanc” (white wine), and I saw no one drinking a “piscine of rouge” (red). But just because I didn’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not done.

So….on the next hot day, go for it. Take the piscine plunge and slip a few ice cubes into that glass of wine. Or sparkling wine. Honestly–it’s a wonderful thing.

Question: Wait a minute. It’s not like we need permission from the French to plunk ice cubes in our wine, right?

Right. But, well, in a way, it did make me feel better about doing so. You see, I’m of a generation that can remember my elders drinking “Riunite on Ice,” (because, you know, “it’s nice”). And by the time I came of age, it was the last thing I wanted to do. Ice in wine just wasn’t cool. And some people still think it’s not.

This was underscored not long ago when I went to an event here in Amerique profonde. The only white wines served were some big, high-alcohol American whites. I asked the wine-server (a noted sommelier in town) if I could have a few ice cubes in my wine.

He all but broke out in hives and said, “I guess so.”

Not wanting to insult his wines (as in: Look, I can’t drink your big fat dizzying overblown whites; plus you’re got them too warm, so just give me some ice already…), I said something apologetic, like, “Yeah, I know–ice in wine. Not cool.”

The som-dude said, “Well, fine. As long as I don’t have to drink it,” and turned away.

This guy needs to go to France and have few Piscines de Rosé…poured over his head.

Okay. Rant over.

Question: Sure, you ice up an inexpensive Rosé or maybe an everyday Prosecco. But would you actually put ice in a really nice wine or Champagne?

Maybe I’d draw the line at a high-end Savennières or that bottle of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé I have squirreled away.

But yes, I will put ice in a truly good under-$30 wine. Because frankly, cheap wine on ice tastes even cheaper. A great wine on ice can still taste great. Sure, you might not get those super-subtle notes of, say, horehound candy or whatever, but a fresh, rounded rosé with bright-red fruit notes will still have fresh red-fruit notes and a roundness. It will just be more refreshing. A Champagne with pear and apple notes will still have pear and apple. Yes, the ice might mute the flavor, but on a hot day what you lose in flavor intensity you gain in cool refreshment. On a hot day, I’ve never not enjoyed a really good rosé (or sparkling wine) wine on ice.

Tavel rosés are known for their elegance. Too elegant to put on ice?

Tavel rosés are known for their elegance. Too elegant to put on ice? I don’t think so–but I’d love to know what you think!

Here’s a great French rosé to try (whether or not you ice it up): Prieuré de Montézargues 2015. This rosé hails from France’s Tavel region, a place known for bone-dry roses. However, while it’s definitely a racy and crisp style, there’s luscious red fruits here, too: the essence of strawberries and bright red currants come to mind. Wine & Spirits magazine gave it 92 points, naming it a “Best Rosé” in 2016.

And now, I have a few questions for you, dear readers:

• Have you seen the “Piscine of Rosé” in France before recent years? Or is it just “new to me.” (I really don’t recall ever seeing it on a menu before this year–maybe I’ve just been oblivious.)

• Do you ever ice up your wine?

• If you do ice up your wine, do you ever ice up high-end wines? Or just everyday sips?

Tell me in the comments section, below, or, on my Facebook page.

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16 comments to Time for a Piscine of Rosé + A Great French Rosé

  • Darla

    I ice up my wine all the time–helps control the insane alcohol content in so many of them these days. Slows me down a bit.

  • Rick

    Why don’t you just order a cocktail, or something that’s supposed to be iced up?

  • Sue Navratil

    I poured wine recently at an outdoor event. It was hot as hell outside so I plunked the medium bodied dry red in the ice. No one wanted a warm red on a hot day. Well, one person protested but that is all!

    • Wini

      You’d get no complaints from me!
      I’ve gone so far as to bring my own ice to outdoor wine events….to make sure I can ice it down if need be.

  • Doug

    Since you are local, can you suggest a place to purchase Prieuré de Montézargues 2015? I would love to have some good rose this summer.

    • Wini

      Hi Doug! Sorry for the late reply….this rushed right past me. I don’t know who has it in stock, but Nevers at Ingersoll Wine and Spirits can always order it for you! He’s happy to order even just one bottle. Enjoy!

  • […] people can get darn uptight about wine rules.  Just ask Wini Moranville.  Read her blog here about asking a sommelier for ice cubes at a restaurant–yes, ice cubes!–for her white […]

  • Cheryl Garland

    Iced up my Rose’ at the pool today. It was perfect! And this was BEFORE. I read your article.

  • Patricia Flournoy

    so pleased you are back…You were missed…

    Had a Piscine of Rose on Saturday…here in Beaune! Didn’t know it was called that but it was Too Hot for any other type of Wine! It was Great!

  • Nancy LoBalbo

    Winnie, we just returned from 3 weeks in Provence…the area around Aix-en-Provence. Of course, I always drink the local rose, but this year the first time I ordered, theyput an ice cube in it. I thought maybe they thought I was just a “dumb tourist” but of course I drank it anyway. Delish! Then I began to notice that in many places it was served with an ice cube or ice cubes brought along with it. This hasn’t happened in past visits. Even the vineyard in St. Puy de Reparade (La Coste) served it this way. I am convinced this is a good idea, esp. when the temps hover in the area of 95-99 degrees–and it was HOT this June!). I will be serving my rose with ice this summer!

    • Wini

      Thanks for the report, Nancy! And I’m glad to hear you had the chance to spend three weeks in Provence in June. I think June is France’s best month!

  • I Love this! Mille merci
    You are my guide for an l’Apéro watercolor!!
    How can I send you one?

  • Wini

    Wow! How sweet of you to offer. Please email me at winimoranville@yahoo.com, and I’ll send some information. Thanks, ParisBreakfast!

  • EM

    Was just in SW France and noticed more ice than in the past. It has been very hot and AC and cooling is not like it is in the US. Very refreshing to add some ice to the drinks!

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