One of the most distinctive Rosés you’ll ever encounter comes from the ancient land of Israel. The modern winemaking happening there today, however—with nearly 300 wineries now in production—bridges the gap between the ancient and the modern and finds something new to say. The boutique Israeli winery FLAM grows grapes—Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon—specifically for the purpose of going into their Rosé, signifying how important this wine is to their collection; it’s more common for wineries around the world (Provence being a strong exception) to use their leftover grapes—grapes that would be sold in the bulk market or would otherwise remain unsold—to make Rosé.
And what a statement the Flam 2014 bottling makes. Its color is an exquisite padparadscha sapphire (kind of a deep salmon). The wine is simultaneously richer, softer-textured and creamier than most Rosé, with expressive notes of melon and watermelon, ripe papaya and bright, young cranberry. There’s a sweet honeysuckle undercurrent with every sip, with a lengthy finish that comes with a note of minerality and bitters like in a glitzy cocktail. But the magic really comes out when pairing with food, and the possibilities are endless, as this is purposely designed to go with local cuisine. So, try it with a Mediterranean salad or hummus or tahini dip or with virgin olive oil and bread. The wine has a fuller body than most, so it will stand with main dishes or lunches—grilled salmon or lox, brisket, hot pastrami, corned beef or club sandwich or wrap. There’s deep character to this Rosé: the “feel” is Mediterranean but it could not come from anywhere else but Israeli earth. It’s worth the search to find a bottle—though pricier than most, this is one that will make you see Rosé in a new light. –J.M.