In the back of The Breslin sits Jessica Brown. The walls are covered in dark wood paneling, paintings of pork and various relics from bars of old. It’s not the type of decor you’d expect from a place that routinely feeds some of the city’s most enthusiastic foodies and high profile guests, but that’s part of its charm.
The restaurant is a high-end take on an old British pub, an intentionally dingy paradise of sorts where meat pies, puddings and traditional English dishes are the name of the game. The English are known more for their beer than for their food or their wine. But the Breslin is full of surprises- the food is incredible. And, in spite of it’s old style pub billing, the wine list is killer too.
This is due in no small part to Jessica, The Breslin’s wine director, who is quick to stress that “pub” doesn’t have to mean beers and blood pudding. There are Burgundies, Lambruscos, Riojas, bubbly and there is a ton of Rosé. In fact, The Breslin never runs out of rosé, which comes on tap. They never stop serving it, not even in the dead of winter.
“In September you go into restaurants and they’re like ‘no it’s out of season.’ But rosé is not a vegetable, it doesn’t really go out of season, that’s not a thing.” Jessica laughs.
“We work with Gotham project to make enough rosé to last us all year long so we can pour it on tap all year in the building. It’s really great, and it’s great that we can support them, it’s a local Cab Franc from the Finger Lakes.”
In almost every circle rosé is seen strictly as a summer drink, but a happy accident helped Jessica realize that this wine can hold its own once the sun and the sand are taken out of the equation.
“We did a rosé and tomatoes dinner. One of the dishes changed at the last minute. It went from really light and bright to this dish with squash blossoms and veal meatballs and tomato sauce and ricotta.” The Breslin is bustling now and lamb burgers fly by the table.
“I already had the wine in house and was like ‘oh no!’ I wasn’t sure it was going to work out- but it was delicious.” She smiles. “It was far and away people’s favorite pairing in the dinner, I learned something that night.” The collective hunger at our table grows with each passing dish, then Jessica makes a point that will have all rosé lovers dancing in the streets.
“Rosé isn’t that different from white wine in terms of pairing. Actually, the benefit of rosé is that those red fruit characters [from the grape skins] lend it to being even more versatile. It can pair with tomatoes and heavier flavors, even in the winter. Really, it’s one of the most versatile wines for pairing there is.”
“I don’t think that anyone is going to turn their nose up at rosé anymore.” Jessica adds. “I feel like it really has turned a corner and kind of everybody is into it. We sell more rosé than anything else in the building, we go through a crazy number of kegs a week.”
Stock up your cellars, get out your glasses and pick out your favorite fall recipes. The cold is coming, but that’s no reason to stop drinking pink.