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An impossible pairing, you say? Try rosé.

A couple of years ago, I headed to London for a business trip, and was faced with a typical traveller’s predicament: dinner on my own in an unfamiliar part of town.

Nearly everything was closed that evening, save for a pub. I settled in at the end of the long, well-worn bar, and peered through waves of cigarette smoke at the chalkboard menu.

“Fish and chips,” I requested, my old pub standard. And to drink? I scanned the length of the bar. Beer? No. Cider? Maybe. And then, a brightly tinted bottle in the refrigerator case behind the bar caught my eye.

“A glass of rosé, please.” The bartender poured, and I balked: it wasn’t the cheerfully pale blush I knew as rosé. Instead, it was an intense, deep ruddy hue. “Are you sure that’s the rosé?” I queried. It was – and it was an eye-opener.

At first, it seemed big and blustery, somehow both too tart and too sweet at the same time. But then the fish and chips arrived, and its greasy saltiness transformed the wine into a bright, fruity refresher. And in turn, the wine cut through the fattiness of the dish, which began to feel like cozy comfort food.

Since then, I’ve become a fan of rosé and its many Crayola hues. In particular, it’s my go-to for seemingly “impossible” pairings, such as spicy Thai dishes, pizza with fresh mozzarella and mushrooms, or vegetarian nachos.

If you’re noticing a theme, these are generally spicy and/or greasy dishes – and this is where rosé shines. Frankly, the subtleties of crisp whites and complex reds can get lost sometimes when dinner is designed to blow out your tastebuds. But rosés can handle the heat. I might not reach for a rosé to pair with a flounder in a delicate caper sauce – but batter and fry up that sucker, and rosé will be my first choice every time.