I feel guilty buying wine when I have a closet full, but my closet is filled with mostly reds. At this time of the year, I am into pink. Or crisp, bright whites but that is another post. When dry Rosé started coming back on the scene a few years ago, I was a happy girl. Love it. Love, love, love. A few years ago, it was a little more challenging to find one that was under $20 that didn’t have a bite, but that seems to be changing. In the last few weeks I’ve had five, all under $20 and four out of five made it on my love list.
If you’ve tried one or two and aren’t sure if you like them, keep trying. Depending on the region, the grapes, the style, they vary widely. There are three main style of production. And because I am writing on borrowed time (sick kids) I am going to quote from an article on Wikipedia. It pains me, but if you read the previous post, you understand why.
When rosé wine is the primary product, it is produced with the skin contact method. Black-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically one to three days. The must is then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine.
When a winemaker desires to impart more tannin and color to a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must can be removed at an early stage in what is known as the Saignée (from French bleeding) method. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced, and the must involved in the maceration becomes more concentrated. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé.
In other parts of the world, blending, the simple mixing of red wine to a white to impart color, is uncommon. This method is discouraged in most wine growing regions, especially in France, where it is forbidden by law, except for Champagne. Even in Champagne, several high-end producers do not use this method but rather the saignée method.[
Now for the fun part. I tried three from France and two from Texas. Here’s the lowdown.
1) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I really like Chateau de Campuget Costieres de Nimes Tradition Rose 2011. Good structure and fruit, bright minerality. Fresh, fun, and fruity. I’ve been feeling like that myself after a few sleepless nights. From the Rhone region, this wine is 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache.
2) From the Coteaux d’Aix in Provence, Bieler Père et Fils is making a lovely Rosé. As they should. This blend is 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Cab. Great mouthfeel, both soft and sturdy which I like in my pink friends. The fruit and minerality is well-balanced. At around $12, it is a steal.
3) Chateau Paradis 2011 (on sale for $15) This was an interesting one to compare with the Bieler. I think the higher percentage of Grenache gave it a little more tannic bite. A great food wine, but it seemed a little harsh after sipping on the previous wine. I’d buy it again, but I’d serve it with , savory and herbal. Also from Coteaux d’Aix, it is 60% Grenache, 20% of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
4) Becker Vineyards in Fredricksburg, Texas recently released their ode to the above region with their 2012 Provencal Rosé. I really like this wine. A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend, this wine has earth and fruit. Fuller bodied, lively, great for summer barbeques or more refined fare. You can find it in the 10-12 range.
5) The first Rosé I fell for made in Texas was from McPherson Cellars. It is a little more fruit-forward than the others, but by no means sweet. This is a great one to introduce someone to the drier style of pink, and Texas wines! It retails for about $14 and is one of my favorites.
If you haven’t wandered down to the pink aisle yet, this gives to a place to start. Now I want to hear from you. Have you discovered any that I need to try? Share them!
And a little pat on my back and disclaimer. We’ve been fighting three kinds of funk in the last three weeks around here. After two nights this week of 3-5 hours of interrupted sleep, I managed to write something, so you can’t get rid of me that easily. I won’t say it’s my best work, but it works. And since I wrote half of this with my son sitting in my lap, I neglected nothing. I think that’s a win-win. Cheers!