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!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Stone Gate Vineyard in the Gilford, NH

Stone Gate Vineyard

As many of you know I spend many of my weekends at the Lakes Region on Lake Winnepesaukee in NH and have always talked about visiting some of the wineries up here, but really never took the time to do so.  Last year I attended a fun event on the Mount Washington where you could taste many of the wines from local wineries and I was pleasantly surprised by many of them.  I decided to start exploring some of these vineyards by visiting there estates.  Today, I started with Stone Gate Vineyards in Gilford, NH. 

Stone Gate Vineyard Gilford, New HampshireI chose Stone Gate Vineyards first because I had heard they were closing after this season ends in November.  We met the owners and winemaker, Peter and Jane Ellis, at their lovely vineyard tucked away in Gilford.  They were established in 2002 and what began as a hobby has now become another career for him and his wife after retirement.  It's time for them to move on and be able to have some freedom to travel.  Even though they are only open on the weekends and weekdays by appointment, making wine is a year round job and is labor intensive and with them being the only workers it's a lot to manage.  They put on a beautiful addition to their house where in the garage is where all the grapes are in tanks and all the production and labeling takes place.  Above is a tasting room decorated beautifully with very creative flooring and artwork on the walls.

We tried the full list of wines that were offered, including 10 whites and reds.  These are cold climate grapes that many are probably not as familiar with as what you see in wine shops.  Grapes such as Seyval, Cayuga, Steuben, Niagara, Marechal Foch and Frontenac.  He has a small vineyard on his land, but most of his grapes are bought from NY and their Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are purchased from CA.  He even has a wine made from apples by a local orchard right around the corner that was pretty tasty.  He even said that he bastes his pork chops in it.  Yummy!

He produces about 500 cases a year and doesn't distribute it so make sure you stop on by and visit them before it is closed.  It's always fun experimenting with different wineries and regions and the way that wine is produced in different soils and climates.