Saturday, June 12, is National Rosé Day. Since we really enjoy rosés, what a great subject to explore. We’ve already stocked up for the summer. This doesn’t mean there might not be another one we can’t turn down.
We’ve set aside about three cases of rosé to have all the way to fall and maybe beyond. A few are sparking, but mostly still wine.
Right up front, wines like white zinfandel are not what we are talking about. These are usually rather sweet and fall into what are known as blush wines.
Back in 1980, the people at Sutter Home in California tried a marketing idea and made a sweetish wine using the rich red zinfandel grape. In traditional rosé fashion, the juice was allowed to stay in contact with the skins just long enough to color it a little. The initial production was 50,000 cases. In five years that number was 1.5 million. It was a hit.
Rosés are not this style. Many have lots of fruit, but rarely have a sweet finish. Even though these wines get their name due to the color, there are many more hues than we might imagine. Some are pale and barely tinted at all. Others are richly colored. Most settle in between.
France is a big player in rosé production. Most every region makes a contribution. Simply said, red grapes can be made into a form of rosé. Many times there is some sort of blend, however.
The south of France and Provence in particular are a source of lots of different rosés. Famous names like Bandol from Provence and Tavel from the Rhone.
A fine rosé we have from Provence is Miraval. Its lighter color belies the rich nose and flavors hidden inside. As is true with several of rosés from Provence, the bottle is different. In this case, it’s the shape. Fleur de Prairie and Aime Roquesante have very attractive bottles. Wines like this make excellent gifts. Les Hauts Plateau comes in a regular high-shoulder bottle.
In the southwest of France is the area known as Gascogne. Cuvée de Jean-Paul is the rosé we have from there. It has a deep color. So does Domaine La Negly Asterides from Languedoc Roussillon to the east.
Rosé d’Anjou from the Loire is well-known. Lots of rosé Champagnes are made. Other examples are produced all over France.
Italy has its share of rosé wines. Lambrusco is a well-known sparking. Still wines are made in many areas. We have Belguardo from Tuscany and Via Rivetti 22 from the Langhe in Piemonte. Also Bertarose from the Veneto.
Cavas from Spain are very popular. They have lots of bubbles and are reasonably priced. Among our sparkling rosés are Stars Touch of Rosé. It has a pale color and tiny bubbles. Poema Brut Rosé from Catalonia has a deep color and lots of tasty fruit. Both of these are made in a standard white version as well.
Other European countries produce rosés. Portugal’s Lancers and Mateus are perhaps the best known.
Not surprisingly, the most popular new-world rosés come from California. Washington and Oregon are also players as is Long Island. We have Mr. Pink from the Columbia Valley.
Rosés are so much fun. They are light but have great flavor. Equally at home at any meal or afternoon sipping. Plus perfect for a picnic. These wines are associated with summer but work well all year long. The color and flavor of rosés are welcome at Christmas at our house.
Give these versatile wines a try this summer. You might form a year-round relationship. We sure have.
Jim Sikes is an Opelika resident; a food, wine and restaurant consultant; and a columnist for the Opelika-Auburn News. Contact him on Facebook at In the Kitchen with Chef Jim.