A decidedly sophisticated new neighborhood restaurant cropped up in Laurel Heights last winter from an ambitious young French chef, Nicolas Delaroque and his wife Andrea, after he had stints at Manresa and Luce. They named it Nico (3228 Sacramento Street), and from the start they were serving refined, modern dishes with high-end service flourishes like an aperitif before dinner, and sommelier-selected wines. The restaurant scored a three-and-a-half-star rave from Michael Bauer right out of the gate, landed on the Top 100 this year, and recently added former Coi and Rich Table wine director Maz Naba to the staff. For the summer, Naba has curated a selection of unique and uniquely excellent rosés to accompany a special tasting menu. Additionally, Nico has most of these wines available by the glass or bottle.

Rosés can be made from a variety of red grapes, typically getting their color from the flesh of the fruit itself and sometimes contact with the skin during the fermentation process. The skins are removed, however, preventing most of the the tannins and color of red wine from being added, and often resulting in crisp, nuanced, food-friendly pink wines that are great for summer sipping.

Because of the range of rosé grapes and styles, coming from regions around the world, the resulting wines can range from the palest of pinks with white-wine acidity, to magenta and burgundy tones with flavors almost like those of light Pinot Noirs. Naba has been careful to highlight this variety in the 20 or so bottles he's been featuring at the restaurant.

Courses from an initial iteration of Nico's rosé tasting menu (see below) include a cucumber soup paired with a 2013 Russian River Grenache-blend rosé from Front Porch; a dish of halibut with English peas and radish paired with a 2013 Cinsault rosé from Clos Beylesse in Provence;
and a rabbit dish with curry, haricot verts, and orach served with Analemma's 2012 Pinot Noir rosé from Columbia Gorge Washington.

Naba promises that the menu will stay in effect through the summer and possibly into the fall, at which point he'll offer another tasting experience highlighting orange wines. (Orange wines, which have been trending the last few years, are made in the opposite fashion of rosés, with white grapes allowed to ferment with their skins and taking on golden to rusty hues. Read more here.)

See the complete rosé tasting menu below, and note that it is subject to change due to availability of products and wines. Click to enlarge.


Nico - 3228 Sacramento Street, between Lyon and Presidio Ave. - Reserve here. Call 415.359.1000 for details and pricing.