How sad for our poor friend Rosé. We show you much love and affection all summer long, then alas, we abandon you when the cold weather arrives for our old friends Cabernet, Syrah, and their other red compatriots. We even tolerate our other friends Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in the winter. Why are we so mean to poor Rosé by kicking it to the curb when the leaves begin to turn? The answer: Fake News!! That’s right. You see so many wine articles touting Rosé as the drink of summer never telling the truth that Rosé is the perfect year-round beverage. I say enough is enough and I am stepping in to set the record straight. Rosé is a year-round friend.
Hey, I get it. It’s a cold blustery day and you don’t relish the thought of opening the refrigerator for a nice cold beverage. Yet I see people drinking beer in the winter. You don’t typically envision people watching a football game at their local pub sipping hot chocolate? And I see plenty of folks enjoying Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc all winter long. So what is it about Rosé that makes it incompatible with the colder months. NOTHING!! In fact, Rosé is a perfectly fine beverage for year-round consumption and here is why:
- Rosé is the best of both the white and red wine worlds. The reason red wine is red is that the juice from red grapes is left in contact with the red skins of the grapes during (and possibly before and after) fermentation. Rosé wine is also made from red grapes but the reason it is pink instead of red is that the juice from the red grapes is left in contact with the red skins for just a short amount of time. The skins of grapes not only impart color but also impart various flavor and texture components including tannins (the things that make your mouth feel dry when you drink a Cabernet). So Rosé wine picks up just a bit of those flavor/texture components giving it a bit of the taste complexities of a red wine (and a tad of tannin) but it also retains the freshness and brightness we love in white wine. The perfect balance between a red and a white wine!!
- Rosé is a great food wine. Rosé is made in many different styles from bone dry to very sweet, from very pale pink/salmon to almost red, from smooth and silky to tart and perky.
There is a Rosé to accompany almost all food choices. Having some foods with a bit of spice? Try a dry grenache based Rosé. Caprese Salad, cured meats or lighter fowl? How about a Sangiovese based Rosé? Having seafood or salad? A merlot-based Rosé could be a perfect match.
- Rosé looks beautiful, is a wonderful aperitif and can be a great value. I’m sorry. When it comes to wine, looks count! We could get into a whole other discussion about how a wine looks affects how we perceive its taste but let’s just agree that many Rosé wines just look beautiful and are festive. Nothing says welcome to my home or event like a wonderful glass of pink colored wine!! Often at a fraction of the cost of Champagne, what a great way to kick off an evening get together.
There are so many wonderful rosés to choose from but here are just a couple of the many that I enjoy: Miraval from Provence and Les Lauzeraies, Tavel from the Rhone Valley. Both are made from Grenache blends but are from different ends of the Rosé spectrum; The Miraval, in the typical style of Provence rosés, was made with very little contact between the juice and skins of the red grapes from which it is made and is therefore very light colored. The Les Lauzeraies Tavel, however, is much deeper in color having had more extensive skin contact which is typical of Rosés of the Tavel appellation. Both of these wines are dry with the Miraval being light and airy and showing off floral notes while the Tavel is denser, has more red fruits and even has a bit of tannin (from the skin contact). Both are a tad expensive by Rosé standards but the quality certainly matches the price point. The Miraval usually sells for over $20 (try their even lighter bodied second wine, Studio, for about $5 less). The Les Lauzeraies sells for about $20 or less.
So please, let’s not cast aside our summer Rosé friends just because the temperature has dropped. Let’s raise our glass of the pink stuff to our year-round friend, Rosé!
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