Think pink for simply good wine
Rosé. Pink wine. White Merlot. White Zinfandel. Blush wine. Whatever you call it, most wine aficionados do not take it seriously and some go as far as panning it. Nevertheless, summer is just around the corner and rosé is the perfect wine for the foods we love in the summer. They are simple wines, light and fresh, some with a touch of sweetness, and they pair beautifully with seafood, fresh salads and many spicy foods.
What makes pink wine pink? The juice of red grapes is white, and red wines do not get their dark hue until the juice sits with the dark skins for hours or days. Rosé wines are made from juice that has had minimum contact with its red skins. This can be minutes or hours. Actually, some rosé wines being made in California are rich in color and can easily be mistaken for a lighter red wine.It was in 1973 that Sutter Home winery in Napa Valley created the first white zinfandel. Owner Bob Trinchero decided he wanted his Zinfandel to have a deeper color and a larger taste profile. He used an old French trick called saignee, or “bleeding,” to remove some of the free-run juice, or bleed it away, when pressing the grapes to reduce the volume and have more contact with the skins. This remaining juice would be more concentrated and provide the desired effect.
A friend suggested that Trinchero hold onto the saignee. He did and vinified it, sold it at the winery, and people loved it. It was light, slightly sweet, and in 2005 the winery was producing more than five million cases of white zinfandel.Blush wines can be made from any red grape. In Spain, you see many pink wines made from Grenache, Mouvedre and Tempranillo. In Provence France, the epicenter for rosé wines, Cinsault, Mouvedre and Grenache are the favored grape varietals. In the U.S. and Australia, Syrah and Sangiovese are quite often favored. The styles can be very light in color and body with hits of rose, strawberry and grapefruit to dark pink – almost red in color – with a flavor profile that is rich in strawberry, orange blossom and cream. Most rosé wines produced are fermented dry, but some do have a touch of residual sugar. Except in the case of sparkling wines, rarely do vintners blend red and white juice to make a blush wine.
Rosé wines are far more diverse than most people know. I think it is the only great-pairing wine for Mexican food, if you do not want Margaritas or beer. Try a few blush wines; I think you will be amazed how enjoyable they are.Susanne Johnston is the owner of Frisco Wine Merchant. For more information, contact her at (970) 668-3153, or at Susanne@friscowine.com.
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