2016’s balanced bountiful harvest brings us a bevy of local dry rosés bursting with delicate red fruits and crisp, refreshing acidity. We talk summer rosés with Ari Mokdad and share a few of our local faves.

Vino File: Ari Mokdad, Owner, Olives & Wine, Traverse City

Detroit native Ari Mokdad grew up in a big Lebanese family centered around food and wine. After clinching a triple major at Grand Valley, Ari recently earned a Master’s in Creative Writing from Wayne State while simultaneously launching two businesses in Traverse City: Olives and Wine and Ziatun. We catch Ari in one of her rare spare moments to talk innovation in wines by the glass, summer rosés, and how to pair them with Lebanese food.

Olives and Wine has a unique wine preservation system, tell us about it?
Our Enomatic system is engineered and custom-built in Italy to hold and preserve 56 wines by the glass. The system uses nitrogen and temperature control so that every pour is in perfect condition and our guests choose their own wines with touch screen controls.

What happens at the wine taps on a busy night?
It’s amazing how the system creates a space for people to talk about wine and food. We supply tasting notes for each offering, but it’s really the guests sharing their experiences with each other that shapes the dynamic. We offer a lot of unique wines and lesser-known grape varietals, so that everyone can expand their wine horizons.

What’s the pink wine program look like this summer?
I’ve been running eight to ten dry rosés all summer and trying to cover the spectrum from pale, dry and delicate wines from Côtes de Provence to some of the bolder rosés from Spain and Lebanon.

For sure. One of my favorite rosés this summer is Myst, made by Chateau Kefraya, in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. It’s a blend of cinsault and syrah.

How does rosé jive with the Lebanese cuisine on your menu?
We use rose, orange blossom or sumac in a lot of the dishes and those flavors pair well with the riper, more fruit-forward rosés from warm growing zones like Spain and California. Lebneh, a cultured yogurt dish, as well as vegetable dishes with beets, grape leaves or squash blossoms, tend to pair better with the crisper, more mineral-driven rosés.

Tim’s Picks:
Northern Michigan Rosés

bigLITTLE Open Road Rosé 2016 | Leelanau Peninsula
The bros at bigLITTLE nail it with this rich blend of pinot gris and marechal foch that spins off bing cherry and juicy watermelon fruit.

Bonobo Rosé 2016 | Old Mission Peninsula
Built mostly from pinot gris, Bonobo’s new rosé flashes delicate red apple and nashi pear accents perfect for dockside imbibing.

Laurentide Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 | Leelanau Peninsula
Crisp and delicate with zippy acid on the finish, Laurentide pink pinot noir is all pomegranate and strawberry finesse.

Left Foot Charley Rosé 2016 | Old Mission Peninsula
Crafted from a single ton of choice Old Mission cab franc, Brian Ulbricht’s 2016 pale rosé showcases delicate red fruit nuances underpinned with spice. Grab it before it’s gone.

L. Mawby Grace Pinot Noir Brut Rosé NV | Leelanau Peninsula
The North’s Bubble King, Larry Mawby, delivers the effervescent side of pink with this pinot noir-driven brut. Strawberry, red raspberry and complex yeast notes are woven into a persistent stream of tiny bubbles.

Traverse food and drinks editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey. dining@traversemagazine.com

More for Wine Lovers:

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner