Tahiirah Habibi Allen, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink Sommelier
Drinking a great glass of wine can be a transporting experience for many people—even for a seasoned expert with access to some of the world’s best bottles. Case in point: Tahiirah Habibi Allen, the 31-year-old sommelier who started at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink last December, for whom a swig of one of her favorite chilled rosés—Tuscany’s Scalabrone —is akin to “bathing in a sea of raspberries.” Rosé, she insists, is the essential summer wine.
For one, it’s not just a pretty pour. The pale pink, peach or salmon colored wine can also be complex and nuanced, bringing forth vegetal, earthy and rustic notes, while always imparting a dry and refreshing boost. “The acid in the wine is so cool, it chills you down instantly,” said Allen. Most commonly produced in France, Spain and Italy, light-bodied rosé is also treasured for its drinkability (the result of lower alcohol content), affordability and food-friendly profile. Hence, the maxim: rosé all day.
In addition, “rosé doesn’t have to be expensive,” Allen said. “You can spend as little as $10 for a great bottle, or splurge on one for around $50.” There are exceptions, of course. Like a nearly extinct vintage made from Stanushina grapes at the Popova Kula Winery in Macedonia, which a friend recently brought her after having traveled there. Uncorking it “fills the room with intense floral and citrus aromas” that remind her of a “voluptuous woman."
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This summer, however, Allen will likely stick to the more accesible bottles that can be just as delicious. On her rare days off, she will be perched on the balcony of her North Bay Village apartment sipping rosé from a Riedel white wine glass. She strongly suggests you do the same. “Kick your feet up,” she said, “and enjoy.”
On a hot day, there’s nothing like a perfect pink pour. Here, three fantastic bottles—all bestsellers at each of these South Florida retailers.
Dom Ott Les Domaniers Rosé (Provence, France): Rosé regulars scream j’adore when a bottle of Domaine Ott is presented. This fantastic food wine has a citrusy nose, a strawberry body and, unexpectedly, it’s an ideal companion for Asian dishes. ($19.99. Total Wine & More, 14750 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami; 305-354-3270; totalwine.com.)
L’Opale de la Presque’Ile de Saint-Tropez (Provence, France): As elegant as its name implies (L’Opale means opal), this well-made rosé is wonderfully dry and highly ranked in the competitive world of wine (90 points from Wine Spectator!) Expect red fruit with a touch of citrus and a nuance of spice on the finish. ($12.99. Vintage Liquors & Wine Bar II, 3301 NE First Avenue, Miami; 305-514-0307; vintageliquor.com.)
Príncipe de Viana Rosado Garnacha 2012 (Navarra, Spain): Despite the intense color, this wine is supple and soft with vibrant berry aromas and crisp acidity that will enhance a light meal like grilled shrimp, beets or a summer salad. ($10. El Carajo International Tapas & Wines, 2465 SW 17th Avenue, Miami; 305-856-2424; el-carajo.com.)