A Rose By Any Other Name

Vineyards during autumn in Provence, France

It is springtime in Naples, Florida which here means 80 plus degree days and increasing levels of humidity.  Funny but after a cold and dreary winter humidity feels good!  Springtime means two things to me…boating and rose.

Over the last twenty years or so, Rose has received a terrible reputation from it’s cousin – blush wine or White Zinfandel as we foundly call it here in the states.  Many times I think that rose is misunderstood and undervalued as a premium product due to the popular stereotype and miseducation of many wine drinkers in this country.  So here’s the truth behind rose, how it’s made, where it comes from, and why it is a premium wine…straight from the source in Provence, France.

A little history

In 600 B.C. the Greeks invaded the area now called Southern France – more specifically Provence.  They brought vines over with them and began planting, harvesting, and producing wine.  Since the Greeks moved in, winemaking has become a way of life not only in Provence but all of France.  However, the blush style is one thing that has remained unique to this region.

What is rose?

Rose is a category of wine, pink to be exact which is the French translation.  Rose wine can be made of a multitude of different grapes, but in general you’ll see Grenache or Syrah quiet often especially from Provence.  Roses are dry, crisp wines.  Roses may differ in structure, color and flavor but some of the tastes you’ll experience are often strawberry, citrus, floral but always very fresh, bright, and crisp, clean wines.

What makes it pink?

A true rose is made from red (or black/purple) grapes.  Like red wine, the natural color in the skin of the dark grapes give the wine a pigment as well as more tannins and structure.  To achieve the rose color rather than a dark red hue, these wines are femermented with the skins for a very short period of time.  While some reds are fermented with the skins for an extensive periods, roses may only see skin contact for anywhere between twenty minutes and a few hours.  The longer the wait, the darker the color.

What do I pair it with?

The best part about rose is its exquisite pairings with food.  French style rose melds perfectly with mediterranean cuisine, but also some other types of food that aren’t so easy to pair wine with:  Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Thai, Spanish paella, Tex-Mex…generally anything with strong flavors or spice.  It is also the classic wine to pair with roast turkey and Thanksgiving-like feasts.  We also find it the perfect wine for the beach, pool, even early morning/afternoon.

Charles & Charles Rose, made by Charles Smith & Charles Bieler

What do I try?

I only drink red…

Gargiulo Rosato di Sangiovese
$30
This rose is made from 100% Sangiovese grown in Napa Valley.  It provides intense flavors and structure with even a touch of tannin on the end, perfect for the red wine drinker.

I like my California Chardonnay…

Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel
$18
One of our favorite roses, it is smooth and silky with light strawberry flavors and acidity.  This producer makes some of the very best roses in Provence – their highest end (over $100) is better than some of the best white Burgundies!

I don’t like rose…

Charles & Charles Rose*
$15
My sister and her fiance know very little about wine (just starting to get into it), hate sweet wines, and turned their noses up at the thought of rose.  That was until we ordered this bottle at dinner last year.  Three bottles later they were definitely rose lovers.  Crisp and clean with the right balance of acidity and fruit.

Thank you readers!

Anyone who would like to purchase these wines can get a 10% discount off at Decanted by mentioning this article or using the coupon code BLOG online.

*Charles & Charles Rose is available for pre-order only by email.  The wine is due to arrive in early May.

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Posted on April 28, 2010, in Wine and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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