Hooray! It’s Rosé Season!
By Julie Peglau
If you have been to a liquor store recently, you have probably noticed the mountains of pale colored pink wine stacked up, waiting to quench our summer thirst. Over the past few years, dry Rosé wines have become crazy popular in North America as we embrace Europe’s summer sipper.
These are not the sweet blush wines that were all the rage 20 years ago. These are dry, but fruity with zippy freshness and will complement all kinds of food, especially lighter summer cuisine like fish, seafood, salad, and grilled brats. Rosé is also great with spicy foods like Cajun, Indian and Thai. Jambalaya please!
Rosé wines come in a range of pink colors: lighter pink roses may have more delicate flavors of strawberry, citrus and herbs and darker hued roses may have more intense berry flavors. The flavors and color depend on the grapes used, the region where they are grown and the winemaker’s style.
The flavors and color depend on the grapes used, the region where they are grown and the winemaker’s style.
Most of the time, Rosé wines are made from red grapes only and most red grapes have red skins with clear juice. Rosé Champagne is a little different where red wines are blended with white wines (more on bubbly another time). Red wine gets its color by soaking (macerating) the grape skins with the grape juice before, during and sometimes after fermentation. Rosé wines also take on their color through skin and juice contact, which can last a few hours and up to a few days, far less time than when making a red wine.
Sometimes the skin contact duration is very short, like during the direct press method, when the fruit is loaded into the press from the vineyard and pressed right away. The two other Rosé methods involve the first steps of red wine production: crushing and maceration.
The freshly picked red grape clusters are first sent through a destemmer machine that removes the berries from the rachis, the stem skeleton of a cluster. Then, the berries pass through a crusher machine that breaks open the skins and allows the juice to flow out. Then, the juice and berries are and sent to a tank where they will soak together to extract the desired color and flavors. When the winemaker is satisfied with the progress, the whole tank of juice and grapes goes to the press to squish the grapes and separate out the juice.
There is no wrong shade of pink!
Be adventurous and try Rosé from allover the globe.
Using, the Saignée / bleeding method, the rosé juice is siphoned out of the tank, not pressed, and sent to a different tank. This method came about centuries ago when winemakers wanted to concentrate the juice and create a richer red wine.
Production methods will vary by region and producer. For example, in the French regions of Provence and Tavel where Rosé is their specialty, fruit is grown only with making the best Rosé possible so the saignée method isn’t used. The back label on a wine won’t usually discuss the production method, but you can find this info on winery websites if you really want to geek out like me! Regardless of method, it’s the taste that matters.
Here are 3 sure-to-please dry Rosé wines!
Serve chilled and bring a little European flair to your summer.
Barbebelle rosé fleuri 2017- Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France
So, I almost never buy wine because of the label, but this one really got me because it reminded me of my awesome friend, Randall MacDonald who sports an equally impressive beard! Randall even decorates his beard for special occasions! Amazing!
I tried this wine with friends who have lived in the south of France and for them, it was a little taste of home, “just like sitting on a terrace on the Côte d’Azur!”
The region of Provence is known for Rosé production and wines typically have a pale salmon-pink color. This Rosé is made from Grenache, Cinsault, and a little Syrah and delivers strawberry and melon fruit on the nose and a fruity palate with touches of mint and a lively, fresh finish. Try with mixed seafood, goat cheese salad, or a picnic lunch.
$18.99+t&d BCLDB 150519
Brotte Tavel “Les Églantiers” 2016 – Tavel, France
Rich pink color with ripe berry and nectarine flavors and a full round finish. It had been a while since I tried a Tavel and the lower acidity surprised me.
The reflective stones on the vineyard floor radiate heat back up to the fruit, producing rich berry flavors, fleshy medium body structure, and a full finish. If you like Chardonnay, this Rosé is right up your alley. Made from Grenache Noir and Syrah with 12 – 24 hours of skin contact, the color is quite stunning.
Try with fattier foods like sausages, salmon or tuna with seasoning, tangy cheeses, lighter dishes and salads with fruit salsas. Fun facts: all wines made from the region of Tavel in the Rhône Valley are made in the Rose style and Les Églantiers means ‘rose bush’ en Anglais.
$21.99+t&d BCLDB 865469
Mas Donís Rosat – Montsant, Spain
This seductive Rosat is from the small village co-operative, Cellier de Capçans in the Montsant DO region of Spain, just south of the famous Priorat. Co-ops are common across Europe and their wines can be wildly successful as they typically offer great value. A co-op is a group of grape growers who pool their fruit together either for sale or to make wine under their own label.
This wine does over-deliver value with a lovely aromatic nose and fruity palate that is dangerously drinkable: buy two bottles, the first one will disappear quickly 😉 . Made from Garnacha (Grenache), Tempranillo, Merlot and a touch of Syrah, it’s a smooth, full flavored wine with boatloads of just-picked raspberry and peach with some musky spice and herbal notes. Made using the saignée method with 4 hours of skin contact.
I have to admit that this bottle didn’t make it to dinner. We paired it with sunshine and good friends! We had planned grilled chicken and peaches with salad. I think that the grilled peaches would have been stunning with the wine – maybe next weekend!
$16.99 +t&d BCLDB 236819