A rose by any other name would make summer still so sweet
special to the daily
As anyone who attends our Wednesday night tastings can attest, I love dry rose wines and open one frequently.
Roses can show lovely cherry, melon, citrus and berry flavors and have depth, light tannins and refreshing acidity.
Except for some rose champagnes, which can offer monumental quality and a price to go with it, most rose wines are reasonably priced and designed to be enjoyed without a great deal of thought at the end of a long hot day.
All rose wines are made from red grapes, again with the exception of champagne.
Classic rose champagnes are a blend of red and white grapes, namely pinot noir and pinot meunier, both red grapes, and chardonnay, a white grape.
Rose wines are made through a process called maceration.
By leaving the skins of the grapes in contact with the juice, color is extracted and tints the pale juice to a soft pink.
Left to its own avail, the juice will continue to darken, this is how red wines get their color.
But the skins give more than just color; they impart tannins, depth and flavor.
The darker the wine, the longer the skins had contact with the grape juice, and the more flavor profiles they have imparted.
Southern France, particularly the region of Provence, is famous for its elegant pink wines.
Mostly made from the grenache or mourvedre grapes, these wines can be any variety of colors from a light salmon to a dark cherry.
They are wonderful on a hot afternoon dining alfresco.
Americans, on the other hand, have mixed reviews regarding rose wines, and I think we can blame California white zinfandel for that.
Interestingly enough, the white zinfandel that made history was actually an enological mistake.
Sutter Home winery in Napa always drained off some of the crushed juice from their zinfandel before fermentation (to give the resulting wine more concentration to the juice left on the skins), and made the drained juice into a dry, pale rose.
But in 1975, the fermentation got stuck ” the yeast died before consuming all the sugar, leaving a sweet wine.
The decision to bottle the wine was a good one and it was an instant hit, soon followed by white cabernet and white merlot.
The recent demand, and I mean a demand, (it seems to be the hot new wine), for dry rose wines can be attributed to the increase in imports from places like Spain, Argentina and France.
In Spain, in the Navarra region and in Rioja, winemakers are producing beautiful fruit forward dry rose wines made from tempranillo and grenache.
In Argentina, the venerable malbec grape produces rich rose wines that have a beautiful strawberry and orange citrus quality.
In the United States, more and more winemakers are producing dry rose wines from cabernet, cabernet franc, pinot noir and syrah grapes.
The wines are rich and some have the weight and body of a red wine.
Some of these wines are stunning and pair beautifully with salmon, tuna, tomato salad, Mexican food and charcuterie.
Price, body, flavor profiles and availability range widely in these wonderful wines.
Start pulling corks, or unscrewing caps, and begin to experiment with dry rose wines.
The summer is perfect for these wines and trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Susanne Johnston owns Frisco Wine Merchant and can be reached at (970) 668-3153 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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