Pink Wine: A Red Wine of Another Color

If you take time to tune in to your inner voice, you may find
that many of you are seasonal beings.  It’s
about this time of year that you start craving strawberries, cherries and begin
that yearning for bbqs and watermelon.
Whether your cravings are simply a Pavlovian response to the longer,
warmer days, or your altered needs are biological in nature, chances are, you
are ready for a wine change as well.

About 2 weeks ago I started thinking pink.  Spring was in full bloom and all I could
think about was heading to the Farmer’s Market
to grab fresh produce so that I could create something that would
accompany Rose’, my pink obsession.  An
old standby for me is Chateau du Rouet; I pick it up in the fridge section at
Corti Bros.  This Provencal example is classic:
bone dry and laden with satisfactory
fruity flavors that don’t disappoint.
And BTW, the bottle is adorable.

Rose’ is a French term .
This same style of wine is called rosato  in Italy, rosado in Spain, Weissherbst in
Germany and on occasion, blush, in the U. S.;  blush is usually reserved for wines with
residual sugar, but not always.   Typically rose’ is made from red grapes that
aren’t overly tannic.  Common grapes
include grenache, mourvedre, sangiovese,  and tempranillo.  The grapes are pressed quickly to avoid
extended contact with skin and seeds.  Wines
are then cold fermented in stainless steel tanks;  very rarely does rose’ see oak.   The cooler the temperature in the environment
during pressing and fermentation, the more fresh fruity flavors will show in
the final wine.  Rarely, but at times,
some wineries do a quick and dirty blend of white and red to create rose’.

Rose’ is hugely popular in Europe, and especially
France.  In the south of France,
Provence, in particular, rose’ accounts for 87% of their wine production.  And if you’ve ever been there during the
summer, you see nearly every restaurant table bedecked with a bottle of salmon
colored wine.  Its lower alcohol level
(usually under 13%) also makes it a perfect daytime sipper.  In addition to rose’ out of Provence, look
for producers  from Bandol, Rousillon,
and the Rhone regions of Lirac, and Tavel.
You’ll also find examples out of the Rioja region in Spain, like Marques
de Caceres
(large U.S. distribution).
From Italy, look for off-dry and sweet examples labeled Lambrusco out of
the Emilia-Romagna and drier examples out of the Veneto region.  You may have to experiment to find the exact
dryness level you enjoy, but know that chances are really good that the pink wines
will be sweeter out of Lambrusco and also many out of Germany.

As far as U.S.  rose’
goes, there are plenty.  Ask your wine
merchant for their recommendation, or check with your favorite local producers
as many have one of these light pink wines amongst their offerings.  In general, you can usually find a very tasty
bottle for under $15. I could tell you more examples of what I like,
but then you’d just be frustrated when you couldn’t find them in your area….so
venture out wine soldier!

I savor rose’ because
it is deliciously easy to drink and can be combined with an abundant number of food
dishes.  Drinking this wine symbolizes
relaxation and freedom and reminds me of Barcelona, Avignon, Minervois,
Carcasonne and Aix, and of reading A Year in Provence, and of cicadas.  It inspires me to garden, to buy flowers, and
to spend time dining with friends in the backyard.  My gosh, why would I NOT drink this
wine?  xoSB


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