Wine Jones: Rose colored glasses
Looking for some color this spring? Have I got the wine for you. It’s a versatile, refreshing, lighter style wine, which is also very much over-looked by the majority of American wine drinkers, that wine is rose.
I am referring to a good quality semi dry rose, that, outside of the pink color, bears no other resemblance to the white zinfandel blush wines that were so popular in the ’80s, and so many think of when one mentions a rose. These dry-style wines have fresh berry scents, and are ideal wines to enjoy in the spring and summer, but can be enjoyed year round because they pair so well with a wide variety of foods.
Rose wines are produced by allowing red grape skins to remain in contact with the grape juice prior to the start of fermentation, creating the pink color. How long the skins stay in contact with the juice will create the depth of color of the finished wine, and add some structure from the tannins.
Rose wines can be produced in a few ways, depending on the style of wine the wine-maker is after. Some roses are produced as a by-product of a red wine, and some are the main aim of the producer. When rose is the focus, red-skinned grapes are crushed, and the skins are allowed to stay in contact with the juice, until the desired color is obtained, typically the contact is two to three days. The grapes are then pressed and the skins removed from the juice, and fermentation begins.
The French Saignee method produces fine roses as a byproduct of red wine production. These wines are made from the run off juice from crushed grapes. Generally the winemaker will bleed off some pink juice from the vat, trying to produce a darker more tannic red wine. That run off juice is then fermented separately to produce a rose.
The third manner in which a pink can be produced is by blending, in which a red wine is added to a white wine creating a pink wine. This method fortunately is not done very often, and generally produces a lesser quality finished product, which may be labeled rose, but is not really a true rose wine.
A good quality rose will be delicate in flavors, dry in style, range in hues of pink; it will be crisp, with fruit and floral essences without being sweet. These wines are produced from Rhone grapes, like Syrah, Cab Franc, Carignan, Grenache, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Some wines will be produced from a blend of roses, adding different percentages of single varietal roses to produce a more layered flavor structure.
Each grape used to produce a rose will present a wonderful flavor and aroma to that wine, making every rose deliciously different from the next.
These wines are best when served well chilled, and can be one of the most versatile wines in your cellar. They pair nicely with mild cheese, Asian and Mexican foods, shrimp, lobster and clams. They are well suited to sip with light pastas, appetizers, ham, grilled salmon, and go surprisingly well with barbecued beef.
You may enjoy exploring some rose produced from different grapes and from different regions.
Provence produces some very affordable tasty wines. The 2007 Routas Rose is one such wine it is a vibrant, dry, full-flavored rose ” salmon hued, with a berry floral nose and fresh flavors of wild strawberries, hints of pepper and anise.
Carol Shelton produces a 100 percent Carignane rose, from organically grown grapes. The 2007 Rendezvous Rose is a light cranberry color, juicy strawberry-watermelon fruit aromas, nice mineral, hint of pink grapefruit, and is refreshingly crisp and dry.
Fort Ross Vineyards 2007 Rose of Pinot Noir has aromas of strawberries, jasmine, and roses. It has a nice minerality balanced with a smooth silky finish.
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