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Summer = Rosé

Summer = Rosé

Summer = Rosé

Summer is on it's way, the bbq's are being dusted off and supermarket shelves are being stocked with charcoal and pretty bottles filled with Rosé.

Rosé, it’s the best thing on a sunny day, plenty of it, chilled and consumed with good friends preferably when looking at a great view.

I’m talking about Rosé, the wine, loved by most, loathed by some.

I remember once a man told me emphatically that he would never ever drink “that shit”.
He meant rosé, of course, and his reasoning was that it was feminine, tasted like pee and was far beneath his sophisticated palate to be drinkable.
I pity that man who clearly hasn’t had a decent rosé in his life and also hasn’t a clue what he is talking about.
Rosé gets a lot of that, it’s totally misunderstood.

For those of you who don’t know about rosé I’d better start by telling you what it isn’t.

Rosé isn’t red and white wine mixed together (although I don’t doubt that in some dodgy establishments they might try it!)
It is not weak red wine or watered down red wine 
Neither is it all made from pink grapes and it is not all sweet, sticky and called “Blush” from California.

What Rosé is, however, is a clever and precise invention of the wine-maker. 
I’ll explain.

Rosé is a wine made from red grapes that have been crushed and the juice left in contact for a very short time with the grape skins. It’s the skins that give the wine color and the dryness (tannin).
The longer the juice is in contact with the skins, the darker the wine and depending on the type of grape, the more tannin the wine will have.
After the juice has been separated from the skins it then continues through the normal wine making process.

It’s the wine-maker who decides how he/she wants their rosé to be.
He/she might want a dark full-bodied number that can be drunk with grilled meats or he/she may be looking for a light and fruity picnic rosé.
As with any wine it’s the decisions from the wine-maker that makes the wine what it is.

Summer = Rosé

Differences in color are an indication of body and sometimes sweetness

Rosé got a bad rap in the 80’s mainly due to the over production of sweet “blush” wines from California.
“Blush” was created because rosé wines at the time were not very popular and the creators (from California) needed a new name to sell it. Advertising at it’s best. 

These are also the same people who, for the same reason, started calling rosé made from the Zinfandel grape, White Zinfandel – even though it was clearly not white.
Almost all of these wines were sweet, mass produced and cheap but we all drank them and hated them mostly because of the sweetness. 
Hence rosé went out of favor and got a bad rap. Now, 30 years later that’s changing as more and more good quality rosés are accessible to us.

Rosé’s from Europe have almost always been dry with a few exceptions and until the early 90’s they weren’t readily available or, if you could get them, cheap enough for our pockets.

In countries around the Mediterranean dry rosé is a staple and is drunk with all sorts of accompaniments from nuts and olives to grilled fish and barbequed meats, it’s very versatile. 

Why? Because the dryness makes the wine refreshing on a super hot day rather than it’s sweeter cousin that would gum up your mouth and taste buds leaving no refreshing feeling.

There’s tons of rosés out there to choose from and depending what you want it for there’s one for every occasion.

There’s light and refreshing – picnic rosés which are the best drunk cold or over ice.
There are sparkling rosés either in Champagne form or just good old sparkling - either way they are incredible and make your smile wider on a sunny day.
There are medium bodied, full-bodied, fruity, sweet, dry, you name it, if  the grape is red they make wine from it in a rosé style. Like I said, versatile.

Summer = Rosé

So, how do you find the right Rosé?

Well, most of the Rosés from New World countries like Australia, Chile and the US will have a description on the label telling you how sweet or dry the wine is and what you can eat with it.

The European’s, although getting their act together with information and labeling, still leave a lot to be desired in that category so here’s some pointers:

If the color of the wine is dark, it’s a pretty good indication that the wine is going to be fuller bodied and dry so might be the better choice for “rosé is crap” man.

The really lightly colored rosés could indicate a slight sweetness. I say “could” because this is not always the case; if contact with the grape skins was so short as to leave little colour then the tannin will be lacking too and while the wine will not be sweet it will seem weak to some. Might be better for “just getting into wine” girl or those wanting something to quench their thirst on a hot day.

Anything from the Mediterranean should be dry and medium bodied - it’s all about the grape varieties that grow there which have a fair bit of tannin.
These are great to drink with or without food and are an awesome choice for the “anytime anywhere” drinker or if you’re just not sure.

Lastly, if in doubt there's a couple of things you can do:
Most Rosés are affordable, meaning cheap. So buy a few different bottles and experiment.
The exceptions are the higher end and more expensive Tavel and Anjou Rosés or even some Provence Rosés which you can always try once your training wheels come off.

If you're still not comfortable trying different types yourself, ask a professional to point you in the right direction. 
They'll ask you a bunch of questions about your preferences and give you some suggestions.

So, don’t be afraid, try rosé, you’ll learn what you like and what you don’t. 
They are hugely affordable, available everywhere and are a lot of fun to drink while sitting around on a sunny evening.

 

Summer = Rosé and summer IS coming, so get out there and enjoy it with a glass of pink!

 

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