BRUNELLO’S NOSE KNOWS….
A Rose is a Rose, and a Rose’ is a perfect warm weather wine!
We love Rose’ wine here at Ed’s Fine Wines for it’s refreshing clean flavors of strawberry, cherry, tart fruit and acid, and often a bone dry finish. Enjoy as an aperitif, or with any combination of lighter meals such as fish and chicken.
Rose’ can be made from any red grape, or a combination or blend of red and white grapes, to sip on a hot sunny day. The wine is usually lower in alcohol, and ranges in color from pale pink to dark salmon. True Provence Rose’- wine made from that particular region in France, tends to be lighter color. Why is Provence considered the preeminent home for great Rose’? For starters, the first Rose’ ever produced was believed to be in Provence. Back in 500 BC when the Romans and then the Greeks were growing grapes in the south of France, they were not that sophisticated at winemaking. Many wines were fermented quickly, and the skins were removed leaving a slightly alcoholic pink wine. Rose’! Different regions of Provence, known for its lavender and thyme fields, allow different varietals to grow many different flavor profiles based on the terroir. Over 80% of the wine produced in Provence goes into Rose’ winemaking.
So if unsophisticated winemaking is how Rose’ started, how else can Rose’ be made? There are a couple of ways to turn red wine grape varietals into Rose’. The French method of Saignee, which literally means bleed. Winemakers will “bleed off” a small percentage of their red wine production to make a rose’- typically much darker pink in color. The Maceration method is the most popular, where the grapes rest on their skins for a very short time, allowing more subtle color extraction. Rose’ wine can literally sit on the skins for a matter of hours up to days. It’s all in the varietals used and the art and style of the winemaker. We carry Rose’ wines here at Ed’s from Argentina, Italy, Spain and the United States. Here are a few worth checking out if you are just venturing into this category of wine.
Chateau St Jean was founded in 1973 in the heart of Sonoma, California. The winery was literally surrounded by fire last fall. Though the buildings were scorched, the winery was unharmed. Margo Van Staaveren will make her 39th harvest this vintage at St Jean, where she uses the art of blending as the cornerstone to her winemaking philosophy. Chateau St Jean Rose’ is easy drinking and affordable with flavors of melon, strawberry and ruby red grapefruit. A perfect Florida sunshine wine! I give it two bones.
Heading to the South of France, along the Mediterranean, from the Alps to the Rhone River, let’s explore why the Provence region is famous for its Rose’. The famed Mistral Winds blow during the hot summer and cool the vines, helping grapes retain their acidity. The famous winds blow from northern and northwestern France to the southeast. The strength of the winds and the dryness of the air keep humidity down (less pests and mold) in the vineyards and are truly responsible for the climate- keeping it cool enough to grow grapes in a Mediterranean climate. The winds also help shed flowers at budbreak, a natural thinning of the grapes, leading to more intense fruit flavors. It is also said that the Mistral is so high in the sky it helps clear the clouds, so the south of France experiences an increase in the hours of sunlight.
Commanderie de la Bargenmore Coteaux d’ Aix Provence Rose’ is a blend of 36% Grenache, 26% Cinsault, 21% Syrah, 10% Cabernet, and 7 % Rolle ( a native white grape also known as Vermentino in Italy). This organic wine is produced at a small winery in the countryside that was founded by the Knights Templar. Vibrant flavors of white peach and lime, watermelon and red fruit. I give it three bones!
Aime Roquesante Cote du Provence Rose’ is made in another quaint part of the countryside in Provence, the town of Vidauban. Lovely watermelon and grapefruit flavors, this blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah are as lively as the lovely bottle it is in. I give it two bones!
Chateau Minuty M Rose’ Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah are blended for this striking aromatic and harmonious wine. Subtle peach and candied orange on the nose with flavors of strawberry and watermelon on the bone-dry finish. I give it three bones!
The rose’ category is growing, just take a look at our section in the store near the front, and make sure you stop by to taste at our weekly Friday night tastings. You never know what you will find. Salute!
By Brunello Giancola as told to CRBrown