Warm weather is here, and Rosé wines are ideal for the summertime for its refreshing qualities. Though Rosés got a bad reputation decades ago, winemakers are now turning their attention to consumers looking for a unique style of wines. Many winemakers are being successful in making beautiful Rosés lightly extracting the essences of different grape varieties; still leaving the distinct characteristics but bringing refreshing notes to your palette. It is no surprise that sales of dry Rosés in the United States have been rising in the last few years.
A Rosé is a style of wine that incorporates some of color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify as red wine. There are two methods to do Rosés:
Maceration and bleeding – This is a steeping-and-draining process. During maceration, the crushed grapes soak in a vat for between two and 20 hours at a cool, tightly controlled temperature (usually ranging from 60° to 68°F). As the juice remains in contact with the skins, the skins release their pigments and delicate aromas. The winemaker tests for color and, determining when the maceration period is complete, opens a filter in the bottom of the vat to drain (or bleed) the juice into the fermentation tank using the force of gravity. What remains in the vat is often used to produce a concentrated red wine. Time for the juice and skins to remain in the vat must be long enough for the red pigments to give the wine its pink color. But it mustn’t be so long that the tannins in the skins begin to detract from the wine’s lively elegance. (Ref. Vins de Provence)
Direct Pressing – This technique, the alternative to maceration/bleeding, yields a rosé that’s much lighter in color, since the skins stay in contact with the juice for a shorter period of time. In direct pressing, the grapes – either de-stemmed or in clusters – are immediately pressed in a wine press to release the juice. The pale pink juice is then delivered to the fermentation tank. (Ref. Vins de Provence)
Rosé is the wine of preference during summertime; however, there is no rule that says you should not be able to enjoy a well-made Rosé all year round. Good thing about Rosés is their versatility, and depending on the varietal their made from, they are really food pairing friendly. Do not be fooled by their color. These are complex wines that capture the essence of the red grape stripped down to its bare essentials. These wines pair beautifully with poultry, pork, summer BBQ.
The winemaker determines the style of Rosé and the grape variety he/she wishes to make the Rosé from, hence the long display of Rosés in the market now a day. With some distinction that many Rosé wines are produced in small quantities and often many of them are sold at the winery only. With such short supply and higher demand, from an increasingly knowledgeable public, it is no surprise that usually they tend to sell out quite fast.
With that in mind here is a list of Rosés, from Napa Valley and beyond, you should try this summer:
- 2012 Silverado Vineyards Sangiovese Rosato – This is a beautiful and delicate well-made wine. This is a bright and refreshing wine with aromas of fresh strawberries and a hint of sweetness.
- 2012 Ehlers Estate Sylviane –A Rosé made of one hundred percent Cabernet Franc, surprisingly sumptuous with fresh strawberry, watermelon, raspberry, cherries and cotton candy aromas. On the palate, the wine is crisp and dry with a bristling acidity, low alcohol and a lingering lemon-berry finish. If you do not get to try it this year, be in the look out for net year. This winery is consistent with their estate grown wines.
- 2012 Mt. Veeder Lagier Meredith Rosé – A Rosé blend of Syrah, Zinfandel and Mondeuse. This is a well made and food friendly pairing wine. It has aromas of fresh strawberries and cranberries and on the palette is mouthwatering with flavors of red fruit with nice acidity.
- 2012 Antica Winery Fossino Rose – A Napa Valley Rosé made of one hundred percent Pinot Noir, from its own specially designated vineyards. With only two hours of skin contact, this is a dry Rosé with bright fruit flavors, hints of strawberries, crisp acidity and beautiful color.
- 2011 Napa Valley Barlow Vineyards Rose – This is a perfect summertime made from one hundred percent Merlot. It is crisp, dry with notes of raspberries and strawberries. On the palette nice balance with a dry finish and lingering flavors of red fruit.
- 2012 Fortunati Vineyards ‘Pranzo’ Rosé – This is a mouth-watering, delicious and food-friendly wine. Made from one hundred percent estate-grown Syrah. It has beautiful notes of strawberry, grapefruit and raspberries. On the palette, it is well balanced with nice acidity, perfect amount of dryness and slight peppery finish. This wine will stand to your summer BBQ and will be a great pairing for your favorite heirloom tomato salad.
- 2012 Blackbird Vineyard Rosé – This wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc made by the Saignée method and cold fermented for 6 weeks. It has a salmon red-colored vibrant rosé of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. On the nose, it has notes of strawberries and savory spice. On the palette is well rounded with hints of cherry, nice acidity and lingering smooth minerality.
- 2012 Buena Vista Pinot Noir Rosé – This is a well-balanced Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir with notes of strawberries and raspberries, with nice hints of minerality on the palette. It is a food friendly wine and will pair nicely with you favorite BBQ.
- 2012 Clos Du Val Pinot Noir Rosé – This Rosé is crafted from one hundred percent Carneros Pinot Noir. It has a delicate pink color with a nose of perfumed, strawberries, cherry blossom and apples. On the palette, it is mouthwatering with a nice dry finish vibrant.
- 2007 Howell Mountain Notre Vin Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé – This is a great dry Rosé with a beautiful red raspberry color. On the nose, it is aromatic with strawberries, raspberries and floral notes. This wine has great structure, is well balanced and has a pleasantly clean and refreshing finish.
- 2012 Bokisch Vineyards Belle Colline Rosado– This is Spanish style dry “Rosado” with a delicate pink color. It is a complex and serious wine with deep aromas of strawberry, cherry and vanilla with a citric twist. It is a medium bodied wine with bright acidity followed by delicious flavors of fresh cherry, cassis, cranberry and pomegranate. This wine pairs beautifully with poultry, pork or simply by the poolside with a light summer BBQ.
- 2010 Baxter Winery ‘Signal Ridge Vineyard’ Rosé – This Mendocino County dry Rosé has a champagne-like acidity with structure built for food. On the palette, it has crisp minerality, green apples with citric hints. With a lower than usual alcohol level (12.5%) makes a perfect seafood or salads paring wine.
All of these wines range from $15 to $35. If you miss some of this Rosés this year, have them in mind for next year. Chances are that winemakers with such good Rosés will keep doing a great job, and we still wait to see more of the very promising 2012 vintage.