Years ago, a Rosé was thought upon as a sweet, feminine wine. The majority of its drinkers were women, and it was very un-macho like to sip it. Fast forward to 2013, when the bloom is very much on the Rosé. Many of my East Coast friends, especially the younger ones, have taken quite a shining to it. In fact, I am told that if you don’t order it by the case in early May, you will be out of luck come July. I was first introduced to a Rosé in July of 2013, by New York friends. Sipping a cold glass of Rosé on a hot muggy New York evening, was both refreshing and delicious.
When we were in Paris last summer with our “wine connoisseur friends," I picked up a bottle of Rosé at a local market, and served it with some nuts and cheese on our hotel patio. So skeptical was my friend, that he wouldn’t even indulge in a sip. After some pretty strong encouragement on my part, he relented, and proceeded to have a second glass. Aha! I thought to myself, I have converted even the most hard core Barolo, (Italian red wine), man I know!
Wine expert, Erica Nussen, tells me that a Rosé’s sweetness can often be a misconception. In fact, if you tell a Rosé wine producer in France that his wines are rumored to be sweet, you will have likely insulted him. Most Rosé wines these days are produced in a dry style, meaning you should not taste any sugar. Erica informs me that the color of the wine is directly related to how much fruit character is expressed in the wine, and that it is directly related to the amount of soaking time. The process for creating the wine is to macerate the clear juice of the crushed grape with its skin for a couple of hours. The longer the skin soaks, the darker the wine will be. In addition, the color of the wine does not correlate to its dryness. In other words, if the color is darker, that does not mean the wine is drier. It merely means that the skin of the original grape was darker.
Rosé wines from Provence are quite popular on the East Coast; they use the Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grapes, among others. Californians seem to gravitate towards local Rosé Wine producers like those of Santa Ynez, who use the Pinot Noir grape.
No matter if you prefer it lighter or darker, French or California, I guarantee that you will be hooked on this refreshing wine. At the end of a long week, what could be better than a glass (or two) of Rosé? Not much!