Remember when some years ago, while in the midst of the latest Chicago culinary fad, you might have found yourself asking questions such as: "Where was (may include here: pesto, tapas, Thai food, short ribs, goat cheese and beets, sushi, bacon wrapped dates, martinis, etc.) 5 years ago?" as you sat across the table from a date in restaurants such as Rose Angelis? It seems like today the same question can be asked about Rosé.
According to the Provence Wine Council, rosé imports from Provence amounted to 1.27 million cases in 2016. This is a tremendous increase when one considers that only 17,500 cases were imported in 2001. And the American palate, not withstanding its certain affinity for “sweeter” wines, has been moving away from the “blush” Rosé of years past (remember white zinfandel?) for drier styles. What’s the reason behind this surge? Hard to say. But the exposure that some celebrities have brought to pink wines has been undoubtedly an important factor. Who does not want to drink Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie, or Bon Jovi wines? At least I feel more assuredly macho with their blessings.
What is rosé wine? Wine acquires its color from the time it spends in contact with the grape skins. Red wines are darker than white wines because they are submitted to long periods of contact with the red skins (maceration). White wines have little contact, if any, with the skins. Therefore, to make a “pink” wine, one only needs a limited amount of time in contact with the dark grape skins. A second less common method is the “bleeding” method: Some juice if “bled out” of the tank early during the maceration time. This technique has the dual benefit of allowing for “pink” juice to be fermented while allowing further concentration of the ferment sitting in the tank. Mixing white and red juice is not considered a quality way of making rosé. In fact, it’s illegal in most European quality regions.
Rosé wines are meant to be drank young. Therefore, no big deal if it has a screw top. They tend to be made in a style that preserves crisp acidity and aromatics. They seldom see oak during their vinification. Many wineries from all over the world are riding the rosé craze. There are fantastic samples from California, Argentina, New Zealand, Greece, etc. Since as it turns out, what sells most are the lighter colored types (like those from Provence), many wine makers are actively seeking this style.
Rosé, by virtue of its acidity, can be quite food friendly (think of how a lemon squeeze turbo charges flavor in just about anything). Served chilled, it can work very well with just about anything from the grill. For other suggestions think about the many foods that come from Southern France. But for around here, it’s also a great wine to have in the “red Solo cup”.
If there are any topics you would like to have addressed in this blog, please kindly shoot me an email with your suggestions. That would make me a happy Wine Guy.
Lorenzo, the wine guy
Friends, food, and wine...I'm happy there.