About The Author:
"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.
Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Try a Rose'
It’s summer and by all accounts, it’s going to be a hot one across the country. (It’s always a hot one in The Wine Guy’s Arizona home….we think we’ve cooled off when the daily high gets below 105!)
Summer is a time when many wine drinkers switch to rose’.
Rose’ refers to wines which are not fully red but have enough of a color tinge to them to make them clearly not a white either. The color in a rose’ can range from a very pale orange to nearly purple dependent on the grapes utilized and how the rose is produced.
There are three principal methods of producing rose’:
Here simply blending red and white varietals creates the effect. It is a practice now less accepted by most, but not all, major producers. It is most commonly utilized in the production of some sparkling rose’ wines.
Saignee (or “bleeding the vat”):
Here the rose’ is produced by removing some of the pink juice from the must in the early stages of maceration. This early juice is then fermented into a rose wine. It is believed this practice may have been developed by some wine makers principally to enrich and enhance the color and concentration of the later red wine. Regardless of intent, it also results in the production of some good rose’ wine.
This method focuses on the intentional limitation of skin contact time in maceration in order to produce a lighter color and tannin content in wine produced from red grapes. This is the preferred method for producing most fine dry roses and the most common rose’ method utilized.
Overall, rose’s are noted for their lightness and crispness and are generally simpler than their heavier-weight counterparts made from the same grapes. This has led to their popularity as summer wines. They are generally very affordable, as well. However, you can find rose’s in nearly all price ranges, including some knockout sparkling rose’s from the Champagne region of France that hit the market at $500 per bottle or more.
One of America’s old favorites is Lancer’s Rose from Portugal (it dates back to 1944). Many boomers will attest to Lancer’s as having been one of their first wines. It is produced with red grapes that are totally separated from their skins. Fresh red grape juice and yeast is later added and additional fermentation takes place. A final round of adding grape juice occurs just before bottling to adjust sweetness.
One of America’s current favorites, White Zinfandel, is actually a relative newcomer to the world of rose’s and occurred by accident in the 70’s at a winery in California. In the process of creating a rose’ of Zinfandel, the fermentation of the wine became “stuck” due to the yeast dying off before all the sugar was fermented into alcohol. The resultant wine was bottled anyway and the rest, as they say, is history. The term “blush” came into popularity a short time later when a Mill Creek Vineyards winemaker created a Cabernet Sauvignon that was pink in color and slightly sweet. Not wanting to call the wine “white Cabernet Sauvignon, the winery took seriously a joking suggestion from wine writer Jerry Mead and called the wine a “Blush” for its blushing pink color.
Since that time, domestic rose’s from the U.S. have tended to be softer, fruitier and sweeter, especially those referred to as a “white” red varietal or as a “blush”. European rose’s, on the other hand, have a greater tendency to fuller in flavor characteristics and drier. If you’re approaching rose’s for the first time it may serve you well to consider what style of red or white you most frequently enjoy. If you tend to the sweeter whites such as riesling, gewürztraminer or moscato, or the lighter softer, un-oaked reds, then a white zinfandel, white merlot, many of the blush wines and/or a rose’ of pinot noir would probably be a good starting point for your exploration. If you enjoy heavier weight, oaked whites or full-bodied reds, I’d suggest looking towards the drier, more traditional rose’s such as those produced in Southern France, Spain and one of my favorite sources for dry rose’s: South Africa.
Here are a few recommendations from The Wine Guy to consider as you explore the world of rose’ wine:
Sutter Home White Zinfandel or Sutter Home White Merlot:
Two sweeter-style rose’s that come from the people who first created White Zinfandel by accident. (White Merlot is made the same way as White Zinfandel and first became popular in the 90’s). If you enjoy fruity, sweeter wines, this is your rose’ of choice. Just be prepared to shrug off snide comments from wine-snobs who will accuse you of drinking alcoholic kool-aid.
Francis Coppola Sofia California Rose’:
This rose’ of Pinot Noir offers mostly strawberry and cherry flavors with a hint of raspberries and rose petals on the nose. It has uniquely been offered in cans which boaters in my home state of Arizona (and elsewhere) love. Rose of Pinot Noir is a great intermediate bridge between the fruity and sweet California blushes and the drier, fuller old-world rose’s.
(Note from The Wine Guy: A favorite Pinot Noir Rose comes from the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara and is made by winemaker David Carr but unfortunately less than 100 cases at a time. Try it and pick up some if you ever visit his winery on the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail).
This Castilian producer offers a nice Spanish rose’ that blends Grenacha and Monastrell with a light touch of Shiraz. Look for cherry and strawberry laced with light citrus acidity followed by a soft smooth, somewhat mineral finish.
Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Rose’:
Better known for their white Vinho Verde wines, this Portuguese producer makes an effervescent, low alcohol (about 10%) rose with bright berry fruit flavors. The wine is made from three Portuguese red varietals: Azal Tinto, Barracao and Vinhao.
Falset-Marca Etim Roset Monsant:
Grenacha and Syrah from the Priorat region of Spain form the basis for this rose. It offers strawberry and raspberry with a hint of peach that lingers on the nice finish. A very well balanced wine.
Les Deux Rives Corbieres Rose:
The French love their rose’ and they produce some of the best dry rose made. This one hails from the Languedoc-Roussillon and combines the varietals of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. Look for raspberry and strawberry flavors and a light tanginess with the finish.
Chateau Campuget Costieres de Nimes Rose’:
Syrah and Grenache are the basis for this wine. The producer’s family has a 370-year history of winemaking in France’s Rhone valley. Look for some cherry and currant notes with the typical raspberry found in most roses. You’ll enjoy this wine’s long fruity finish.
Mulderbosch Stellenbosch Rose’:
Out of one of South Africa’s premier regions comes this Rose’ of Cabernet Sauvignon. Look for berry flavors accented by a hint of pomegranate and light spice followed by a nice long and lingering finish.
Juno Cape Maidens Pinotage Rose’:
South Africa’s signature grape, Pinotage, forms the basis for this rose’. Plum and cherry fruit flavors abound and some find a hint of banana. There are more tannins than in the typical rose but they are soft and smooth. This is a unique and well-made dry rose from the Paarl region of South Africa.
These are just a few examples. Rose’ wines offer a wealth of possibilities for your enjoyment. Go ahead and explore them for yourself. Just remember, a good rose’ is enjoyable anytime, not just in summer!