Pink wine, like a pink shirt, is for an unserious occasion. Both are personal favorites, which makes the coming weeks exciting. Spring is the best time for pink. As it happens, a recent birthday brought a length of pink chambray shirting as a gift, and, as if these things are cosmically prearranged, several bottles of rosé, rosato and rosado.
Whether French, Italian or Spanish, and despite the wide range of styles, I find most pink wines function similarly: they stand in as softer, fleshier substitutes for white wines that might have too much acidic backbone for whatever food they accompany. This is because pink wine is made from red grapes, the tint of color being determined by how long the pressed juice is left in contact with the grape skins. In this sense one might think of pink wine as red wine light—an approachable chilled version with traces of the red varietal’s character. That’s not to say they are typically complex wines; the appeal of pink wine is that it asks very little of the person drinking it.
They should be served chilled, but need not be kept cold for the duration. They are good picnic choices for this reason. In fact, pink wine has always struck me as daytime wine. As long as you don’t encounter anything more serious than quiche, or perhaps a ham sandwich, pink wine navigates lunchtime menus confidently. And while they don’t exactly flounder in the evening, perhaps some of their pretty charm fades with the light.
Pink shirts pose more of a challenge. I find they are strictly daytime shirts, and casual ones at that. This insistence dictates everything from the type of cloth (ones with texture and noticeable weaves are preferred) to styling details (namely, barrel cuffs and casual collars). One of my more cherished shirts is a nubby royal oxford with semi-spread collar and barrel cuffs. I have to limit myself wearing it so it does not prematurely wear out—which is difficult as it works casually with everything: light gray suits, navy blazers, cream linen trousers, beneath a charcoal cashmere sweater.
And here is where I am running into a style dilemma. The cloth sent me as a gift is a lovely chambray from Simonot Goddard (via A Suitable Wardrobe). The chambray I've encountered has a casual, even workwear aspect to it, but this version is utterly refined. So refined, in fact, that I am seriously tempted to have it made into a pair of French cuffed shirts. But I usually reserve this more formal style of shirt for evening, so when and how these would be worn I’m not sure. Sometimes a cloth rides roughshod over whatever notions have typically defined it.
I’m open to suggestions. Below, for inspiration, is a small gallery of pink wine, shirts and cloth.