A new crop of Rosé wine is arriving
Versatile, crisp and refreshing, the wines from last summer’s harvest are just hitting our shelves. While rosés are great year-round, there is no doubt that the warmer the weather gets, the more appealing a glass of cold rosé becomes.
So why are rosé wines often snubbed? Is it because some think that pink is wimpy, or that all rosés are sweet? Sure, there’s terrible rosé out there—that’s true of most consumer products— but you will find only well-made, artisanal selections on our selves.
To make most rosé wine, red grapes are crushed and left to macerate on their red skins for anywhere from a few hours to a few days—the longer the maceration, the darker the juice. Then the juice is strained from the solids (called “must”) and fermented in tanks or used barrels. Look to ARNOT-ROBERTS ROSÉ for a delicious example.
Another style of rosé, vin gris, is made from the immediate pressing of red skinned grapes without any maceration time. Vin gris is a very pale pink that is usually much lighter than traditionally made rosés. You can’t beat BONNY DOON’S VIN GRIS DE CIGARE as a great local example of the style.
A third method for making rosé is called saignée, and is a by-product of red wine production. When the winemaker wants to increase the color and concentration of a red wine, some of the juice is bled off early in the maceration. This “bled” juice (saignée is derived from the French “to bleed”) is captured and put in tank to ferment as a rosé. Saignée rosés can be extraordinary or lackluster. Luckily, we have the VAUGHN DUFFY ROSÉ as an excellent example of a Pinot Noir rosé made in the saignée method.
“His lips drink water, but his heart drinks wine.” ― E.E. Cummings
We’d love to hear what you are drinking right now! Share it on Twitter (@wine_ecng) or in the shop. Let us know what you’d like to learn more about! We’re happy to research it for the next WINE WORDS.
How “White Zinfandel” Saved Our Vines
Zinfandel’s roots in California go way back, and fortunately we have a lot of old vines to prove it. This may not have been the case but for the accidental marketing success of the saignée rosé called “White Zin.” Easy, sweet, and cheap to make, it clearly had (has?) mass appeal. At a time when lots of old vines were being torn out to plant more fashionable varieties, this wine’s success ensured that Zinfandel grapes had a market. Finally, old-vine red Zinfandel found its fans and older plantings are recognized and valued as viticultural treasures in their own right. (And thankfully classic, crisp, dry rosés also have growing numbers of devotees!)