A Rosé by Any Other Name…

When we opened back in May of 2007, I decided that I was going to make 2007 the year of the rosé wine.  If I had to drag people kicking and screaming to a bottle of rosé, I would!  Americans had missed out on one of the great wine styles of the world for far too long!  Well, now it is summer of 2012 and I am pleased to say that I no longer I have to twist arms.  We now carry about 25 different rosé wines from all over the world because of the demand during the summer months!

Metro area residents are enjoying rosé wines (pronounced ro ´zay) in droves and it’s about time.  The French and Spaniards make lots of these wines and drink them profusely.  They are often highly regarded wines such as Tavel from the Rhone Valley of France or the very expensive sparkling rosés from Champagne.  But, most often they are very inexpensive and delicious.

Please don’t confuse rosé wines with white zinfandel!  White zinfandels are pink wines with lots of sugar added to them.  Rosés are dry, pink wines that range in color from light pink to salmon to brick red.  They are made from red grapes such as Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Merlot, Malbec, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and yes, Zinfandel.  They exhibit lots of juicy ripe fruit flavors, but are refreshingly dry (without residual sugar).

How is a rosé made you ask?  Peel almost any red grape and you will find clear flesh and clear juice.  The color comes from the skins.  When you make a red wine, you crush the fruit and allow the skins to bleed their pigment into the juice.  So to make a rosé, you crush the fruit and only allow a few hours of skin contact to achieve a light red color.  Then you ferment it dry and bottle it right away so that the fresh fruit flavors of the newly harvested grapes will remain in the bottle.

The final product is a more delicate version of red wine that is served chilled.  They are extremely versatile with food, pairing easily with most anything you will cook or eat in your backyard this summer.  Rosés are ideal with picnic foods like cold cuts, pasta or potato salads, cold chicken, and barbeque.  They are great with anything you might throw on the grill or smoker and they are just down-right delicious all by themselves.  I recommend rosés to people who are trying to learn to develop a taste for red wine or for red wine lovers who want something cold.  And because you serve them chilled, they are particularly suited for entertaining in the Mississippi heat.

Although there are many rosés in the marketplace, I have listed a few of my favorites below.  Pick up one of these at your favorite wine shop, chill it and open it the next time you have friends over.  I promise it will not be the last time you do!

La Vieille Ferme, Cotes du Ventoux         $11

Pares Balta Ros de Pacs, Penedes     $14

R2 Hannah Rosé, Santa Barbara     $20

Acrobat, Oregon     $15

Pedroncelli, Dry Creek Valley     $10

Crios, Argentina     $14

Duval-Leroy, Rosé de Saignée, Champagne     $56