When I was first asked to write an online wine column about why Teller carries certain wines, my mind was brimming with the plethora of fine Chateauneuf du Papes and oaky Chardonnays that I personally love. Given the endless choices of wines that our customers crave and that we bring into the shop, I had no trouble finding plenty to write about in the last twenty-six articles. But in the way-back recesses of my mind were Rosés, mainly because I had shied away from them. In keeping with our mantra that a good wine is one you like, I remained less than open-minded about trying Rosés until we bought Teller Wines in Lewes.
To me, Rosés were more akin to wimpy red wannabes. So, for the longest time, I actually avoided our own “Juicy Fruity” section, because I equated most Rosés with mass-produced, sweet white Zinfandels (pink in color) that were so popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s. But, fortunately for me, I have forced myself to try several Rosés that have enlightened not only my taste sensibilities but changed my mind about their “worthiness” factor.
Roses are Red1/4 Roses are Red2/4 Roses are Red3/4 Roses are Red4/4
There are basically two ways to make Rosé. Saignee (sen-YAY) is the practice of “bleeding off” lightly tinted juice after a brief maceration with the grapes. Since wine’s color comes from the skins, the longer you steep the grape, the darker and more tannic the wine gets. The second (and less respected) way is to simply blend white wine with red to make it pink. Rosé is made from a myriad of grapes from around the world and is typically associated with hot, coastal locales and the briny flavors of the sea. The Mediterranean countries, mainly France (Cotes de Provence), Italy, and Spain reign supreme in Rosado/Rosato production, but an increasing number of American wineries have begun producing world-class Rosé wines as well.
For quality assurance and product research, Kevin and I taste every wine before it comes into the shop. Some are from customer requests, but generally we want to make sure that the wine tastes good and the price transcends the value. Lately, I have had the pleasure of tasting several Rosés that are complex, robust, and surprisingly structured. (No wimps here!) The colors of Rosé can range from shades of pale salmon to vibrant ruby pink. Tantalizing flavors of pomegranate, strawberry, tart cherry, honeysuckle, and citrus on the nose and palate are there to tickle your senses. A vast majority of the Rosés we carry (and that I like) are bone dry and finish with mouth-watering minerality. The best part is that these Rosés can be either delightful on their own or food friendly. Bright acidity and lingering finish make them perfect partners to picnic foods like cold fried chicken, potato salad and pound cake. Or turkey meatloaf, fish tacos, or wood-fired pizzas.
Three of my favorite Rosés are:
1. Aimé Roquesante, made with Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah grapes, from France. It has delightful strawberry aromas, somewhat like a fruit cup. Dry, marked with fine acidity and a slightly bitter note on the finish. It is a great value at $12.99.
2. Viňa Real, a Rosé of Viura and Tempranillo, from Spain, dry and elegant with raspberry, crushed strawberry and rose petals on the palate with a clean finish at a delightful $13.99.
3. Robert Sinskey, from California, a Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, has aromas of frâises-de-bois and mandarin. Taking a sip is like biting into a crisp, ripe nectarine with citrus, pear, and slate. The wine is delicious with youthful vivaciousness, but will only become more enticing as it develops a savory quality. Worth every penny at $31.99.
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy Rosés because chilled properly, they are downright refreshing. Usually, we recommend drinking whites after taking the bottle out of the fridge for about 30-40 minutes before popping the cork, so the wine can come to a more moderate temperature. Otherwise, the chill masks the full flavor. For Rosés however, you want it straight out of the ice box so as to enjoy the maximum zing! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.