Thursday, April 26, 2012

You Can Drink Rosé and Still Be a Bad Ass

All you macho types keep in mind these words coming from Charles and Charles (a joint project between Charles Smith and Charles Bieler). It’s spring...the beginning of Rosé season.

Rosé wines are made from red grapes. The grape skins have very limited contact with the juice which gives the wines a pink color. The shorter the contact, the lighter the color. While Rosé can be sweet, off dry, or bone dry, today I'm talking about the beautiful decidedly dry type.  The flavors of Rosé wines tend to be subtle versions of their red varietal counterparts—strawberry, cherry, watermelon, citrus, and raspberry.

These wines are perfect for spring and summer, as they are served chilled and are probably the most food friendly and food versatile wines on the planet. The light body and delicate flavors make them ideal picnic wines that go well with roast beef, chicken or ham sandwiches, egg or potato salad, and even chips and dip. They are great for backyard barbeques, easily handling burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and even steaks. And nothing is better than Rosé to drink with nothing at all on a bright summer day. They are also great values, most being in the 10 to 20 dollar range.

Rosés got a bad rap after the winemaker at Sutter Home invented White Zinfandel completely by accident (an arrested fermentation).  This started the flood of sweet wine cooler-like blush wines from California. Consequently, in the past I've had people run from the tasting bar when I did a Rosé tasting. Dry Rosé, though, is a wonderful wine, and sales are going up. People are finding pleasant surprises at store tastings even if all the wines are pink.

There are hundreds of Rosés on the market. I'm going to mention three that are reasonably priced, fairly easy to find, and outstanding.

Domaine du Salvard Cheverny Rosé 2011 screams “Loire Valley” with its strong minerality and beautiful acidity. It is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Gamay. The nose and palate are full of rose petals, strawberries, bell pepper, and a bit of peaty earth. The finish is lingering and perfectly balanced.

Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé 2011 is from Provence, a renowned area of Rosé production. This deeply colored Rosé is Syrah driven (50%), blended with 30% Grenache and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is cranberry red in color with a nose of raspberry, cherry, and wild strawberry. It is crisp and flavorful on the palate with a medium body and notes of red berries, cherries, and spice.  The finish is long and refreshing.

Feudi di San Gregorio Ros’aura Rosato 2011 is made from 100% Aglianico which is known for making very powerful tannic wines. The wine is a brilliant ruby color with a huge nose of freshly crushed strawberries and cherries. Medium bodied and intensely fruit driven with a palate of strawberry preserves, cherries, and a hint of green herbs, it has a lingering but crisp finish. This is a powerful Rosé, and has always been one of my favorites.

These wines are coming into stores in large numbers this time of year and can be found at great prices.  So all you guys, if your football coach invites you to dinner, be brave and grab a bottle of dry pink wine. He’ll be impressed with your wine savvy.

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