As soon as the temperature climbs above 65 degrees, my internal wine-o-meter changes, too. Does that mean my sipping gravitates from red to white? Well, yes and no.
For me, summer is all about the pinks and corals and wild salmon hues of the wine world, a time for sipping on Rosé.
Not to be confused with pinky jugs of syrupy sweet white zinfandel, Rosé is an interesting mix of both grape worlds. Although made from red grapes and starts off being made like a red, it ferments like a white AND drinks like a white.
Here's how the Rosé process works: Red grapes get crushed, and just as with red wine, the juice and skins are kept together - but only temporarily - in order to extract pigments, resulting in those cool colors. The juice and skins are then separated, and the juice is allowed to ferment by its lonesome -- like white wine.
Like white wine, Rosé is best chilled and drunk within two years of bottling. You won't see a 10-year-old Rosé on the shelves of your favorite wine shop, for example. Not until a few years ago, most of the pink stuff you were seeing was coming from the Rosé mother-terroir of southern France.
With the Rosé cat now out of the bag, there's all kinds of pink drink arriving from sunny spots around the globe far from la Belle France.
Some will argue that Rosé is more like the flavor of the month, without much merit on its own, but I say with most bottles less than 15 bucks, what do you have to lose?
By the way, Rosé is great to eat with a fatty rack of ribs. Its clean acidity marries well with anything that cloys the tongue.
Here's a short list of non-Francais Rosé, just for kicks. I've tried nearly all and will note those that are still new for me in notes below. And please, add to this list! What's your favorite pink drink? Or maybe you can't stand the stuff. Share your sips in comments area below.
Toad Hollow, Eye of the Toad 2005, (Sonoma County) Rosé of Pinot Noir (about $11). Think strawberries, not too ripe, with lemongrass.
Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare 2005, a blend of 7 varietals, including Grenache blanc and Syrah, (about $12). Think strawberry-lavender ade with a hint of licorice.
Bonny Doon also makes Big House Pink, a less expensive Rosé, made from a blend of Italian grapes. Think watermelon punch. ($10)
Tres Ojos, Garancha/Tempranillo Blend, 2004 ($6). Think ripe raspberries with a splash of black cherry. Maybe a little lime, too. A serious bargain!
Bodegas, 1+1=3, Rosé of Cabernet, 2005 (About $13). One of the more elegant Rosés I've come across, lighter in color, with honey and guava notes, maybe some grapefruit, too. I love this one.
Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec, 2005 (About $12). Lots of ripe berries here, with something else - a mango or a peach, perhaps? Great with fatty cheese, a grilled piece of fish, figs and prosciutto.
Having lived in South Africa, I am keen to get my hands on these Rosés from well-known wineries making a name for themselves in this country.
Goats Do Roam, 2006, a blend of five grapes, including Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz ($9.99)
Mulderbosch, Rosé of Cabarnet, 2005 (about $13).
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: johng | June 12, 2006 12:12 PM
Posted by: Elle | June 12, 2006 2:01 PM
Posted by: in D.C. | June 12, 2006 3:36 PM
Posted by: William | June 13, 2006 11:35 AM
Posted by: Providence, RI | June 14, 2006 11:38 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.