Summer is coming! It’s time to start “Looking at the World through Rosé Colored Glasses”.
In the 6th Century B.C the Greeks were accomplishing one amazing thing after another, giving human beings a big push onto their evolutionary path. Cleisthenes introduced sweeping democratic reforms in Athens, Thespis had his first public performance of a tragedy based on a Hymn to Dionysis, the influence of The Oracle at Delphi and it’s priestess reached it’s height of influence, Greek art became independent of foreign influences and developed it’s own style and form, Pythagoras is said to have introduced the octave in music, the first water supply system in Athens was developed with 9 pipes leading to a main well, the first public libraries were established, also in Athens, the olive tree was brought to Italy by Greek settlers and my current favorite…Grape vines were brought to Southern France along with the skills to make the pink style wine that was part of everyday Greek life.
Invaders and conquerors have come and gone, all influencing the delightful wine we know today as Rosé, Rosado (in Spanish speaking countries) or Rosato (in Italy).
It is probably the oldest style of wine and though the Ancients were familiar with the technique of longer exposure to skins to produce a deeper color, they felt these were harsh and of inferior quality to the wines that incorporated just enough skin contact to give it a pale color and a softer palate. Rosé colors range from a very pale, golden pink to those with an almost orangey melon hue to a bright almost neon pink, depending on the amount of skin contact and the varietal of the grapes used. Today Rosés are made all over the world from almost every red varietal imaginable.
Though Rosé has spent impressive centuries here on the Planet Earth, when we hear “Rosé” in America we think of Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel that was a result of a “mishap” at the winery. The fermentation process got “stuck” when the yeast died off , leaving a large amount of residual sugar that never got converted into alcohol. This left a wine that was too sweet to sell as the exclusive French style Rosé that Bob Trinchero was offering only in his tasting room. He let the wine sit for 2 weeks and upon tasting decided to sell this publicly as “White Zinfandel” rather than “Eye of The Partridge”, his original name for the French style. By the mid 80’s, this early 70s “mistake” was the most popular wine in the great U.S. of A.
But there’s a bigger Rosé World out there loaded with affordable offerings of a more traditional, ancient style, truer to the origins of this delightful elixir. The choices are almost endless. The Days of Summer beg for a chilled glass of Rosé on the patio or porch with family and friends or alone with a good book.
The color and aromas of summer berries in the glass will bring a smile and a grateful sigh of pleasure for this beautiful season that passes so quickly.
So grab a bottle of one of these lovely wines, raise a glass and enjoy these days as you “look at the world through Rosé colored glasses”. Here’s to exploring Rosé all summer long….
1. Miraval Rose
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s “Miraval” from their estate in Provence is on the higher priced end of the Rosé scale and their celebrity and success with this wine has brought worldwide attention to Rosé. Their 6000 cases of 2013 Miraval sold out in 5 hours. (This one retails for $30 but I’ve seen it as low as $21.) This blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle is a pale salmon pink color with white peach and rose petal aromas, slightly herbaceous with a nice acidic dry finish.
2. Il Poggione’s Brancato Rosato
One of my favorites is Il Poggione’s Brancato Rosato a 100% Sangiovese Rosé from Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. It’s aromas are full of strawberry and raspberry with an illusive touch of watermelon and the flavors of lush fruit, a touch of spice, minerality and sparkling acicity make this an exceptional wine at the right price, about $15.
Being passionate about Northwest wines I have to mention a few gems, all of which are bursting with abundant NW fruit flavors and aromas. With some, the strawberries and Bing cherries practically jump whole right out of the glass! Others have rhubarb and spice hints alongside the ripe fruit that remind me of my Mom’s strawberry/rhubarb pie…
3. Ponzi Pinot Noir Rose
Recognized wine experts really like this one. This wine is begging to be paired with some fresh grilled salmon. Lots of reviews and awards at about $20.
4. 2016 Estate Rosé – Willamette Vally Vineyatds
This is the perfect tribute to beautiful Oregon summers. This vineyard practices environmentally sustainable farming and was one of the founders of the LIVE certification program (Low Input Viticulture and Enology). All of their vehicles from tractor to delivery van are Biodiesel powered. They are one of the largest producers of sustainably produced wines. $22
5. Troon Vineyard Dry Rosé
From Applegate Valley, Southern Oregon and made from 100% Syrah. This handcrafted wine really shows nice spicy notes along with bright, ripe fruit. $20
Winemaker Ron from the Wahluke Slope in Washington uses mourvèdre and grenache to create a definitely “French Feel” Rosé with a dusty mineral quality and bright acidity. $22
7. Charles Smith Vino Rosé
Charles Smith of Columbia Valley makes a delicious and very affordable Sangiovese Rosé boasting raspberries and white peaches for about $14.
Willamette Valley and Gilbert Cellars are available at Amazon.com. Your local wine merchant can help you locate others and wine.com is a great resource for lots of Rosés at great prices.
Here’s to exploring the Big World of Pink Wine!
About the Author
For 40 years, Beverly has worked in the fine-dining restaurant industry. From Chicago to Salt Lake City to Portland, she has contributed to the success of each city’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. As a result, her knowledge of wine and food is vast, both of which she is passionate about. She currently co-manages one of Portland, Oregon’s most historic and prestigious restaurants. Her position allows her to mingle with some of today’s most exciting winemakers and chefs.
When she isn’t chatting with a wine rep or putting together a food and wine pairing menu, you’ll find Beverly working hard in her beautiful vegetable garden, baking fresh goods and spending time with her three grandsons.