As the weather warms up, I am always looking for the quintessential summer wine. As a lover of rosé wine, I must admit to its poor reputation. Albeit, one that is for the most part, completely undeserved. In recent years, however, the tide has begun to change. Top wine producers in California such as: Mazzocco, Pezzi King and Dry Creek Valley Vineyards, have been hand-crafting small lots of Rosé. This is not the sweet, sugar laced stuff that you drank in college. Rather a lush red wine, layered in flavors; that just happens to be pink. In order to fully understand Rosé’s past, you must understand how they’re made, where they came from and where exactly, they received their poor reputation.
Rosé can be made through multiple winemaking techniques. Most of the variation in winemaking style takes place during crush. Red wine grapes are crushed and the resulting juice is left in contact with the skins. The pigment from the skins leaches out into the grape juice and the intensity of color of the resulting mixture (called must), depends on the amount of time skins are left in contact. Another option is the Saignée method, or the bleeding method, involving lightly crushing the black grapes, then vating them for twelve to twenty-four hours. At that point, a portion of the juice is run off and fermented, becoming its own style of rosé.
After the skins are removed, rosés for the most part, are treated like a white wine. They are fermented at a lower temperature in stainless steel tanks or neutral wood. The finished product is something to savor. Flavors are fresh and vibrant, full of depth, notes of candied strawberries and summer melon, hints of tannin and crisp acidity. These wines are rarely made for aging, so drink them NOW. They are also the ideal food wine. They can complement an array of dishes and are perfect pairing to spicy meats at a summer BBQ.
Rosé has been well established in the wine world for centuries. The production of Rosé in France is considered a revered art. But let’s jump to the New World, the good ol’ USA. In 1972, Robert Trinchero of Sutter Home fame, found himself with an ungodly amount of Zinfandel grapes during the height of white wine popularity. He decided to use the saignee method to come up with a solution. The resulting wine was named White Zinfandel. It was pink, sweet and easy to drink. The branding that went along with the pink wine, as well as the price, lead to astronomical sales.
The appeal of White Zinfandel has slowly started to diminish as more Americans refine their pallets and become more accustom to dry wines. Unfortunately, pink colored wine has become synonymous with an undesirable level of sweetness, and rosé became a social faux pas at wine parties, simply due a common color shade.
However, the tide has begun to turn. High quality rosés are now becoming widely available with more and more being released each year. As producers catch on to the buying trends of their consumers, you can bet your last dollar that Rosé, will continue to improve in quality and go up in price. Take advantage of this versatile wine, for Rosé is here to stay.

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About The Author

Kristi Devine's picture

Kristi Devine is living the good life in the valleys of Napa and Sonoma.  She loves every aspect of wine country living.  You'll find her playing in the vineyards with her family, at the local farmers market, or working in a winery. Follow her on Twitter: @KristissCorner

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