Salmon-pink, light rose, palest cherry, soft apricot. These are the colors that attract us to rosé wines in a store or restaurant. In the past, we’ve sometimes been disappointed in the overly sweet flavors.
But not any more.
Rosé wines have come into their own: balanced, grown-up wines for summer sipping.
Actually, it’s not so much that rosé wines have come into their own, it’s that we’re getting access to the traditional, finely crafted rosé wines now locally – not the old cheap, sweet pink stuff. These better quality rosés are dry, lively wines; they are enticingly aromatic and tangibly fruity. Here in the United States, “the stigma of pink wines associated with low-quality, sweet white zinfandel has been replaced by easy-to-drink dry style Provence and domestic rosé,” reports Brandy D. Rand of International Wine and Spirits Research.
Since Roman times rosé wine has been made in the South of France, from red grapes that contribute just a hint of color. And this is how it’s still made in the southern French region of Provence. In fact, 88 percent of the wines of Provence are rosé – most made with the local grenache and syrah grapes.
According to a 2016 report from the French winery association Wines of Provence, imports of rosé wines from Provence to the United States have grown by double digits for the 12th straight year.
You might not have thought about this, but both red and white grapes have clear juice inside.
For rosé, in traditional Provençal winemaking, the color comes from the red grape skins which are only left in contact with the (clear) grape juice for a period of a few hours.
In some regions of the world where red wines are made, some of the juice is “bled off” (also known as the saignée method.) This happens in the early stages of pressing red grapes – when the juice is a bit lighter in color – and the light juice is used to make rosé wines. Whatever the method, the result is a dry, very light-red wine we call rosé.
A modern history
Rosé’s popularity throughout France dates back to the mid-20th century, when improvements in the economy and transportation combined to allow the French to take longer vacations, further away from home. Even ordinary working people could afford to make their way to Mediterranean beaches, where they relaxed and sipped rosé wines by the seaside. When they returned home, recalling their wonderful vacations, they continued to drink rosé wines in the warmer months.
Where does rosé come from?
As more people from Europe and the United States visited the South of France, many more people fell under the spell of French rosé wines. The wine’s popularity spread, and soon other regions were producing and exporting more of their own fine rosé wines – from places as far apart as Navarra in the north of Spain to Santa Barbara, California.
In France alone, today we can find delightful rosé wines made anywhere from the Loire Valley to Bordeaux – though Provence is still the most famous. The wine is produced all over Europe, from Moldova to Italy to Spain. Even from Austria and Germany, where I recently tasted charming rosé wines from grapes as diverse as zweigelt and pinot noir.
How to buy rosé wine
Here on the Cape we can walk into a wine shop (or peruse a restaurant wine list) anywhere, and find offerings of delightful rosé wines from many different countries. In Wareham, Wines & More seems to have gone rosé-crazy with rosés scattered all around the store. There and at Cape wine stores -- oncluding Falmouth Wine & Spirits, Kappy’s, and Orleans Wine & Spirits you can find wines from Argentina, Austria, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and the United States.
In addition to their colorful hues, some of the wines come in attractive curvaceous bottles, and labels vary from traditional to retro to bright new graphics.
Remember that these wines are made with care and they are not inexpensive. You may be spending up to $20 a bottle for a lovely, balanced rosé wine.
Read the original article here.