With apologies to Gertrude Stein, a rose is not always a rose though what Stein really was trying to unveil is the temporal quality of all things and wine might fit that lot; a rosé today is not the same rosé as it was 5 years ago. rosé drinkers today are not scoffed at as inexperienced Neanderthals who simply want some colored sugar water as rosé is no longer a compromise wine, neither as light and refreshing as white nor as rich and satisfying as red. It is a legitimate category with unique characteristics and can be a very satisfying wine experience.
rosé is not merely a color but a style of winemaking. In the beginning it may have been the simple mixing of red and white, though this technique is rarely used today and in fact is illegal in most classified wine regions (the exception is with Sparkling rosé where red wine is added to the cuvee to give color and body-most experts find this technique to give as good a result as the skin contact method). The most used technique involves short skin contact time perhaps as little as 8 hours or up to 48 hours. During this time some of the color of the red skins is leached into the liquid along with other flavor properties found only in the skins. One other method is prevalent, the “bleeding” of a bit of juice off from a tank of red grapes that have just been crushed. Remember the juice of all but three red grapes is clear and the color is found in the skins so fresh crushed red grapes have clear juice. A time proven technique to concentrate red wines is what the French call a “Saigne” bleeding off perhaps 10% of the juice thus leaving more skin to juice for your red wine and a very pale extract that is often made into a delicious rosé. One last technical note, nothing about rosé suggests they need to be sweet, in fact with very little skin involvement and lower acid than white wine (rosés are made from red grapes) they have lower acid and no need for balancing sweetness. Today a $10 rosé is almost certainly dry (without noticeable residual sugar), and as a dry wine they are a lovely compliment to food.
Provence doesn’t hold a lock on rosé production though they certainly enjoy their rosé in the south of France and in fact all over Europe. Today delicious rosés can be found all over the world made from a wide variety of grapes from the power of Syrah or Mourvedre or other Rhone varietals, to the delicate aromatics of Pinot Noir you will find a larger selection of rosé in Colorado than in years past. They are great for Mother’s Day brunch, Outdoor Weddings or simply enjoying the sunset.
Here are some recommendations to narrow your search-rosé is a somewhat seasonal product and is usually at its best within a year or two of its vintage and as such is imported and stocked on a somewhat limited basis so get in synch with rosé season at your favorite outlet today!
Saintsbury Vin Gris 2011 Carneros, California Approximately $17
Classic pinot notes, wild strawberry, mint; light on its feet. Try with grilled Salmon!
Puech-Haut rosé Prestige 2011 Languedoc, France Approximately $20
Grenache at the base, very delicate (saigne method) a Colorado favorite
Tasca rosé de Realeali 2011 Sicily, Italy Approximately $14
From Norello Mascalese (Indigenous Sicilian grape whose name means-rosé Petals) cherry a floral notes, warmer flavors indicative of its Mediterranean origins
Castano Rosado 2011 Yecla, Spain Approximately $10
Made from Monastrell (Morvedre)this is a richly styled pleaser, deep in color as rosés go, perfect for a BBQ
Routas rosé 2011 Provence, France Approximately $12
Grenache, Cinsault at the base, the most listed French rosé in Restaurants-quintessential Provence experience here in the Centennial State!