Let’s face it, it’s hot. It’s time to step away from those heavier red wines. I know it’s hard. I love them too.
But when it’s 90 plus degrees out, you will find me sipping rose. Even though rose has been considered the underdog of the wine world for some time, over the last five years it has gained monumental respect. I am one of its biggest fans.
A good rose will have a combination of characteristics of both red and white wines. These rose wines will open up with lovely fruit characters and on the back end will have depth and tannins along with very crisp and refreshing acidity. It’s quite a treat.
The quality of rose in the past few years has also dramatically increased. And since just about every wine region in the world produces a rose there are many varieties and styles to choose from. For example, in Spain, rose is known as rosado, made from Garnacha or Tempranillo grapes, depending on the region of origin. In Italy, rose is called rosato made from Sangiovese. Rose from France, dependent on the region, can be made from Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Pinot Noir and even Cabernet Franc. All rose wines will vary in color because of the different skin types for each grape mentioned So with all the available variety, it’s hard not to find one you like.
In the past rose has often been just a by-product of red-wine production. Winemakers would drain some of the juice from the skins in the tank after maceration. This is known as the “saignee” method, which means to “bleed off”. This would create two batches of juice, one that would be sent off to be fermented as rose and the other to produce a concentrated red wine.
Today, more and more grapes are being grown with the idea in mind of just producing a rose. Grape juice is left on the skins for hours, sometimes days, drained and sent to a fermentation vessel once the desired color has been extracted. However, it’s not just pigment that is extracted, phenols and tannins are also transferred and end up in the finished wine. I call it the rose triple-threat.
Anyways, I wish I could have posted this earlier in the summer but I had to try all the rose out there and pick the ones I liked best. Yes, I did it all for you. It was very hard but satisfying work.
So look for these. Break out of your shell. Try something new. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Don’t forget to serve them cold!
2006 Grand Veneur Cotes Du Rhone Rose Reserve $10
This rose, salmon-pink in color and with a brilliance all its own, has a nose reminiscent of a strawberry patch on a warm summer day. Hints of spice are also apparent but the red fruit is overpowering, in a good way. On the palate the wine is well-balanced, full and flavorful. A long and refreshing finish is also enjoyed. This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 20% Cinsault.
2007 Cotes Du Rhone Rose Heritages des Caves Des Papes $11
First, let me just say 2007 was an amazing year for the Rhone Valley and this rose is no exception to that statement. Pinkish-rose in color with intense aromas of red fruit and spice characters. Fresh tasting with dried strawberry, red cherry and mineral notes. This all gives way to a dry and refreshing finish. The wine is 60% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre.
2006 Langlois-Chateau-Cabernet de Saumur, La Bretonniere Rose Sec $10
An elegant, crisp and luscious rose from the Loire made from 100% Cabernet Franc. Notes of blackcurrant and raspberry are prevalent. The palate is dry with flavors of cassis and cranberry chiming in. Long refreshing finish.
2007 Navarro Vineyards Rose, Mendocino, California $16
Made from 60-70 year old Grenache and Carignan vines, this rose is bursting with strawberry and raspberry flavors. A bit of spiciness and citrus round out the balance. Finishes dry and crisp. However, you will have to get this one from the winery itself.
2007 A to Z Wineworks Rose, Oregon $13
This 100% Sangiovese rose has vibrant flavors of raspberry, strawberry and scents of wildflowers on the nose. Bright, focused and generous on the palate with hints of spiciness and red currant being most apparent. This is followed by an enjoyable crisp lingering finish.
When paired with spicy food and warm weather, these wines will not miss on flavor. I promise you will enjoy them.
So tell me, what did you have to drink last night?