07/11/12 – rosé for rising temperatures

By Jesse on July 9, 2012

The weather’s heating up this week, which means it’s the perfect time to bust open some rosé. As stalwart and dedicated Winos, we of course never need an “excuse” to drink any particular kind of wine. However, the tradition of consuming rosé during the hot summer months is a time-honored one, and it’s certainly true that crisp, refreshing rosé pairs exquisitely with summer staples such as picnics, beaches, poolsides, and light meals. We may be iconoclasts here at the Winos, but far be it from us to thumb our nose at tradition — particularly a tradition that mandates the consumption of delicious pink wine.

By now you’ll probably have discovered that rosé is much more than the White Zinfandel that your aunt Myrtle likes to serve at her barbecues. (By the way, if anybody actually has an aunt named Myrtle, that’s awesome — please inform us of such at the meeting.) Rosé comes from all over the world, and it’s made with many different grape types, but the vast majority of decent rosés share one common characteristic: they’re made from red grapes, the juice of which has been drained off quickly so that the skins didn’t have time to impart more than a slight bit of pigmentation, resulting in a pink hue (as opposed to a full dark red one).

Rosé is perfect for the summer because it walks the line between the light, refreshing character of a white wine and the flavorful juiciness of a red. In a recent New York Times article, Eric Asimov writes the following: “in most rosés, a heavy dose of alcohol or a clumsy level of sweetness will unbalance the wine. The rosés to look for are crisp, textured and refreshing.” Here are some rosé possibilities for your purchasing preparedness:

If you want to go French, the Rhône Valley makes a number of great rosés (inexpensive ones can be found from Côtes du Rhône, and from other smaller appellations as well). A bit further to the south, Provence is the source of some of the world’s most popular rosé — and Eric Asimov calls it “rosé’s spiritual home.” Rosé from both Provence and Rhone will typically be Grenache-based, and may include numerous other Rhône grapes such as Syrah, Cinsaut, Carignan, etc. The rosés of Bandol, which by law are made of at least 50% Mourvedre, are considered some of the best and most character-driven in the world. Ask your friendly wine merchant if he can direct you to a French rosé similar to a Bandol (but perhaps slightly less expensive).

In Spain, Tempranillo and Grenache are used in making rosé, just as they are in the red wines of Rioja. Australia has gotten into the rosé game, and California makes plenty of interesting pink wine that isn’t White Zin — there are Rhône-style rosés, as well as ones made of Pinot Noir, random Italian grapes, and plenty of other varieties. Finally, don’t forget that a lot of sparkling wines are rosés. Feel free to bring a pink Champagne or something inspired by that classic style.

We’ll be meeting at Adra’s place in Santa Monica. The RSVP system functions like this: if you want in, you click on this link and tell me so (don’t forget your full name, e-mail address, and a cute message conveying to me your intentions). Once you’ve gotten your confirmation e-mail, grab yourself a tasty bottle of something pink and refreshing, hopefully something without a “heavy dose of alcohol” or a “clumsy level of sweetness” — or simply find yourself a $10 bill to contribute. We’ll see you thirsty Winos on Wednesday night at 8pm.