Celebrate the season of rosé winesRestaurant Review Thursday, June 16th, 2011
One wine that, with its release each year, carries a worldly celebration. The little pink wine known as rosé starts a season of fresh crisp wine drinking. Its production and release at this time every year is the perfect spring and summer accessory for our approaching warm San Diego weather.
For those of you who aren’t familiar or even shy away from the wine due to its color, don’t fear, rosé is vastly different from the tragic White Zinfandel that this country has come to know. Over the years the term “blush” became a four-letter word and was synonymous with a cheap poor man’s wine. This rosé imposter desecrated the image of the wine and changed our view of the pink juice.
Since then, we have become a more educated society and rosé itself has gained great respect with critics and wine lovers alike. Once you get into the celebration, like me, you will look forward to it every year.
The wine is made from any number of red grapes, not just white, and each grape offers its unique twist. Most varieties you will find come from Rhone grapes of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. In recent years, versions made with Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese have made an appearance in the market. Even Argentina is producing a stellar rosé made from their indigenous grape Malbec. Regardless of what variety you choose, drink them icy cold; as it warms in your glass, you will discover the crisp flavors of grapefruit, strawberries and raspberries.
The production of rosé starts in the traditional way of crushing the grapes and allowing the juice to sit with the skins. Traditionally, the skins would sit with the juice for a long period of time, but with rosé, the skins are removed within just a few hours to a few days. By doing this, you get the flavor of the grape, with just a hint of color. After the skins are removed, the process continues with fermentation. Once the sugar has been broken down and the alcohol created, the wine is bottled.
Instead of letting the wine “settle,” it is released and ready to drink. You want to consume rosé within a year or two of its release. Generally these wines would not benefit from aging and in fact will lose their luster.
Since you drink the wine so early right after its production, every year huge festivals are thrown during the season all over the world. In the south of France, the birthplace of the wine, parties lasting days are thrown during the summer months celebrating the wine.
Now I often talk about pairing wine with food and with rosé, there is no exception. The versatility of the wine is remarkable and can hold up to the simplest of flavors and to the boldest. Since most countries produce a version of the wine, it works with all types of cuisine. From Chinese takeout to steaks on the barbecue, try it with everything. This is the one time of year where there are no rules on wine drinking.
When choosing, remember to make sure it is the current vintage, which today would be 2010. Think about which red wines you like, and then look for a rosé made with the same grapes. Pick one, two or even three, they are some of the most affordable wines on the market with costs ranging from $10-$20 a bottle, so experimenting is easy.
I encourage you all to join in the celebration. Grab your friends, pull some corks, pour some glasses and create a festival in your own backyard. Once you create the tradition, you will look forward to the celebrated season each year – and don’t we all need something to look forward to!
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