'Tis The Season to Drink Pink
Fresh spring dinners, lazy, hot summer days, weekend family outings, and picnics at Ravinia, all call for rosé wines.
And here is a little trivia for you - 2008 marks the 35th anniversary of the invention of white zinfandel. It was crush season of 1973 at Sutter Home Winery in St. Helena, CA when owner Bob Trinchero was looking to give his red zinfandel more color and flavor. He used an old French trick called saignee, or “bleeding.”
Immediately after the grapes were crushed, he bled away some of the juice to make the remaining juice more concentrated as it soaked on the skins. A friend suggested that he save the saignee juice. Bob did and vinified it. White Zinfandel was born.
Consumers loved it and it exploded in popularity, making up 24 percent of all varietal wine from California by the 1990s. Critics on the other side bashed it and all blush wines deeming them too bland, too simple. They called it wine for people who don’t really like wine.
After a lengthy period of declining popularity, rosés are on the rise around the world again. Excellent rosé wines come from Provence and Southern Cotes du Rhône (both in France), Catalonia, Navarra (both in Spain) and also from Ontario and B.C. They are short lived and lose their youthful appeal within a year, maximum two.
What gives rosé its rosy hue? Even red grapes have white juice, which doesn’t become red unless it is soaked for hours, even days, on its red skins. Rosé is made from juice that is removed early from its skins. Rosés can be made from any red grape - grenache, mourvedre, pinot noir, syrah, merlot, even cabernet sauvignon.
Rosé wines go with casual summer meals because they’re casual themselves. Affordable, fruity, sometimes a touch sweet, they should always be chilled, but not iced and match well with simple seafood, strawberries, barbecue, even spicy Cajun or Asian dishes.
A few delicious choices:
2005 Rietvallei Special Select Juanita Rosé, Robertson Valley, South Africa ($15)
A very fruity but dry rosé made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Berry fruit flavors on the nose while the palate reveals a full-bodied rosé not to be taken lightly.
2007 La Petite Mignarde, Cuvée des Amandiers Rosé, VdP Coteaux de Peyriac, France ($12)
Bright cherry & raspberry aromas on the nose. Light, lively and refreshing.
2007 Chateau du Donjon Rose, Minervois, France ($15)
Loads of mineral, ripe raspberry and dark cherry flavors with a finish of smoke . and spice. Sophisticated and complex.
I am thinking Pink this season, are you?
By Mick Ter Haar, Sommelier
Wine & Art Gallery
Uncork a World of Art ™