Rose, It's Not Your Mother's White Zinfindel

Posted March 31, 2016

Christine Kirby


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Rosé - It’s not your mother’s White Zinfandel…

Spring is here.  To most people this conjures up thoughts of warmer days, budding flowers, open-toed shoes, and sun-touched anything.  To many wine enthusiasts it also means rosé time. Wait a minute… did I just imply wine enthusiasts dig rosés? I sure did!  For once and for all, rosé wine deserves to shake the bad rap it got as a result of the 1970’s and 80’s Cali White Zin craze.  Those syrupy sweet “blush” wines were enough to turn up the noses of generations of wine snobs.  Heck, they were bad enough to make even the most casual wine drinker think no to pink.  If you haven’t already, it’s time to say yay to rosé!  (Don’t lose me on account of the corny rhymes; there was no way to NOT go there…)


All the cool kids are doing it.

We at the Wine Library hate to resort to peer pressure, but if that’s what it takes to change your perception, that’s what we’ll do…  Rosés are super cool.  They’re fresh, they’re exciting, they’re hip.  Heck, they’re just so darn pretty.  Yes, sickeningly sweet “white” rosés still exist, but a great wine shop will have a selection of sophisticated styles -mostly dry ones -that reflect climate and terroir. Such wines have zesty acidity that makes them extremely versatile.  They pair perfectly with summer barbeque, seafood dishes, local (and faraway, but not our preference) vegetables, light pasta fare - really just about anything.  You will be the coolest cat at your ex-roommate's brother’s friend’s Memorial Day backyard BBQ as you and your chilled bottle of pink Rioja show the gang that rosé can be serious and sexy, simultaneously casual and fun. Just like you, buddy!  And you, girlfriend!  The best part?  This will not have caused you to overdraft from your checking account.  There are really terrific choices in the $10 - $15 range, and a real splurge wouldn’t get up to $40.  What’s not cool about that?


“A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”  But what’s a rosé?

There are a few ways to make rosé wine. Last Saturday night when you ran out of Cab and had to switch to Chardonnay and did not rinse out your glass, you were not drinking rosé. Blending red wine and white wine is a way to make it, but it’s certainly not the preferred way.  (There are exceptions to this, particularly in Champagne.)  The most common way to make serious rosé is by limited skin contact.  After red grapes are crushed, skins are left to briefly macerate with the juice.  This is pretty much the same thing that happens with red wine, it’s just a much shorter time.  Another method to make rosé wine is by using the Saignée method - saignée means “bleeding” in French. In this technique, some of the juice is removed after the red grapes are crushed, so that what’s left over develops more intense flavors.  The wine that is removed is vinified to create rosé.  Both methods are capable of producing excellent rosés.  Cheers to that.



Surely I have convinced you to give rosé a whirl.  Now what do you look for?

You can find great rosés from pretty much anywhere you can find great wine.  There are some areas that are particularly well known for doing it best. Southern France is the mother or shall I say, mère, of rosé land.  You can not go wrong with anything from Provence or the Rhone.  For a delicate and fresh ‘n fruity, yet bone-dry choice from Provence, look for something from Coteaux Varois or Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. When you are totally hooked and ready for the go-big-or-go-home-rose-style, splurge on a rosé from Bandol in Provence or Tavel in the Rhone.  Bandol rosés have more spice and minerality, and they are known for expressing their terroir.  While Bandol also produces red wines, Tavel ONLY produces rosés, and boy oh boy, do they know what they’re doing.  Both appellations produce extraordinary roses worthy of cellaring. Yes, pink to drink later.

...Travel north (wow, I really wish I was there), and you find some great French rosés from the Loire Valley.  You may have heard; France knows how to do wine.

France may be the most well-known producer of premium rosés, but it’s certainly not the only. Italy runs the gamut in fantastic rosé styles, just like they do with their reds and whites. Right now, I am really digging “rosados” from Spain.  They are usually Grenache and/or Tempranillo based with exuberant aromas of red berry.  Jeez, I’m getting thirsty. Spain's next door neighbor, Portugal, also impresses with not only tasty choices, but great value.  Really watching your budget, but need an idea for a neat night out?  Grab a rosé from Greece and head to your favorite gyro joint.  Want to try a USA rosé, instead?  You may not be surprised that Cali has some great ones, but the East can do them well, too!  A New York rosé is a great way to explore some of the state’s wine regions. Do that and you will be breaking wine stereotypes left and right...coast.

Oh no, you say??!!  You’re game now, but there are too many choices!  I would LOVE for you to shoot me an email, and I will share with you my faves. Please, please do; it will justify the fact that I’m tasting some new pink wine every few nights.  I can’t resist, and I’m betting you won’t either!

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Item: 93857

750 mL

Retail: $19.99

$15.97 per btl