Friday, July 26, 2013

Prove yourself wrong. Try a rosè!

I wanted to write about rosè because I think they are very misunderstood in typical society.  They can be very interesting because they are produced in many different styles all over the world plus, they are great food friendly wines and especially enjoyable this time of year.  

If many of you don’t know the color from rosè wines come from the grape skins and how long they are in contact with the juices.  That’s why some are much lighter or darker in color compared to each other.  The longer the maceration, obviously the darker it can get.  It usually is not in contact very long, maybe a few days at most.  From there the juice is pressed and the skins are discarded.  

There is another way to produce rosè wine which is known as the bleeding method, or saignee, where the juice is in contact with the skins a very short period of hours to less than a day.  This allows the producers to produce a more concentrated red, plus they can “bleed off” the rosès and get them out much quicker to the market while the reds continue to ferment.  Some producers don’t even make a rosè wine and just throw this wine that was bled off down the drain.

Rosès can be very dry like a lot of the rosè wines that come from the Old World, Europe, and then others are very sweet, like the “blush wines” that many people know them as.  I think that is where it really gets its bad name from because of the lack of quality in White Zinfandels like Sutter Home that really made that wine what it is in the US through its marketing efforts.  Some of the best rosès I have had come out of France, Italy and Spain and should not be missed.  

Provence, the southern part of France, is well known for producing rosès, with more than half of their production being dedicated to this type of wine.  Tavel AOC is  a region that produces only rosè style wines.  Outside of the Provence area another popular place to find roseè are in the Rhone Valley, especially Gigondas.  Many of the rose wines in France are produced with Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache varietals along with Cinsault and Carignan and some others blended in.

In Italy, rosès are mostly known as rosato or cerasulo depending upon the region in addition to some others.   In Italy they are made with Sangiovese, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, etc.. In the north you tend to find lighter styles of rosès and in the south they are deeper in color and fuller bodied.

Lastly, In Spain, rosès are known as rosados and the popular places to find them are in the Navarra DO region.  These rosès are made mostly with the Garnache grape along with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, etc.. 

These wines tend to have shorter shelf life because of the lack of time that the juice has in contact with the skins so they don’t get the tannins as other wines get that provides the aging in a lot of wines.  So buy a bottle, drink up and enjoy!