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Think Pink: Now Is The Time To Drink Rosé

Rural Intelligence FoodWhether he is selling a $10 bottle of wine or a $1 million house, Andrew Gates wants to see people fall in love.  As both a real-estate broker at Sotheby’s in Lakeville, CT,  and a shopkeeper in Millerton, NY, he cultivates clients by paying attention to their specific tastes and needs.  At Little Gates & Co. Wine Merchants, the two year-old shop he co-owns with Will Little (chairman of the Lakeville Journal Company), customers are encouraged to schmooze, ask questions, and hang out. In the front of the store, there’s a round table with a chess board and piles of books surrounded by four comfortable chairs.  “We talk as much about books here as we talk about wine,” says Gates. He attributes the shop’s literary bent to writer Melissa Davis, who works at the store, and her husband, the author and raconteur Peter Richmond (The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever; Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee), who’s a familiar presence there.

Nevertheless, the number one topic of conversation right now is rosé, and a large table in the middle of the shop holds more than a dozen different gem-colored bottles with a small sign that proclaims THINK PINK. “Rosé is a visual wine,” says Gates. “It’s a beautiful wine to have when the sun is shining.”

Rural Intelligence FoodWith rosé, you can judge the wine by its color. “If it’s pale pink, then it’s going to be light and crisp,” says Gates. “If it’s darker, it’s going to be fleshy—you’ll have a sense of biting the grape.” He doesn’t sell the sweet Italian rosés that gave pink wines a bad reputation. “I am biased toward the Provençal rosés,” says Gates, who believes they pretty much go with anything you are going to eat this summer. “I am not a traditionalist when it comes to food pairings. I think you can drink rosé with lamb, and I would love to drink rosé with the fish tacos at the Harney tea room.” He’s high on Vin Gris de Cigare ($17), a California rosé, from Bonny Doon, which has an alien seduction scene on the label and an alien avatar on the cap. “This is a beautiful wine,” he says, noting that the most expensive rosé in the shop is a $30 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir from the Napa Valley’s Robert Sinskey. “It’s probably too expensive, but it’s a special wine with a limited allocation,” he says. “And the focus of our shop is grower-producer wines with a small level of production.”

You often see the crew at Little Gates with glasses in their hands.  “We are not shy about tasting wines and opening bottles with our customers,” says Gates. “I can’t imagine selling wines any other way.”  He prides himself on having an attentive sales staff and laments that many restaurants and retail businesses have indifferent customer service. “I think it’s not only bad business,” he says, “it’s bad humanity.”

He opens a bottle of Col di Luna ($17), a sparkling rosé from northern Italy. “It’s heavenly stuff,” he says as Davis emerges from the backroom with a platter of cheese and crackers. She describes sparkling rosé “as grown-up soda pop—it’s yummy.” Gates takes another sip and smiles broadly as if he’d swallowed pure joy.  “Sparkling rosés are so delicious I can’t stand it!”

Little Gates Wine Merchants
56A South Center Street, Millerton, NY; 518.789.3899
Monday - Saturday 11 AM - 7 PM; Sunday 12 - 5 PM

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 06/17/09 at 11:00 AM • Permalink