Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 17th 2014 Contents SWEET SUMMERTIME DRINKING experiences continue, and there is no better
wine to bring out the laughter and conviviality of those hot summer days than a light,
crispy, and flavourful rose .
Whether we say rosé, rosado (Spain), rosato (Italy) or "blush" (mostly American),
these terms all refer to pink wines. This pink shade can range from a soft, subtle hue
to a vibrant, deep or hot pink, depending on the grape used and how long the grape
skins were in contact with the juice. Rosés can be made in a sweet, off-dry or bone
dry style, with most European rosés being decidedly dry.
The majority of rosé wines are made from a red grape varietal. The varietals most
often used in making a rosé wine include: Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Malbec,
Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Zinfandel. These varietals may be
either used alone or in a blend. Rosé varietals are often country dependent, so a
rosado from Spain will be largely derived from the Tempranillo and Grenache grapes,
while Italy may utilize more Sangiovese for their rosatos, and the U.S. would tend to
lean towards Cabernet, Merlot and Zinfandel.
Traditionally, making rosés was done by crushing red grapes, allowing the juice to ex-
tract a bit of colour and flavour from the skins, and then straining the juice into another
tank or vat before fermentation. The shorter the contact time with the skins, the
lighter the wine's colour. Extended time with juice and skins yields some amazing,
eye-catching colour variations from vibrant orangey-pink to nothing less than a vivid,
hot pink. Some red wine producers employ a similar method, called saignée (French
for "bled") in which some of the juice is "bled" from the tank and fermented into rose;
the remaining juice in the tank with the grape must is fermented into (more concen-
trated) red wine. Sparkling rosés are traditionally made with a blend of red and white
grapes; while this practice is usually limited to the sparkling category, it has popped
up in production practices for some still rosé wines.
The European Union (EU), as part of its wine reform programme and in a bid to
loosen its winemaking laws, has in the recent years legalised the blending of red and
white wines to make a rosé. The blending method is where wine makers are permit-
ted to take already fermented white and red wines to create a pink-hued wine. The
result does not taste like traditional rose . So the EU proposed a compromise that
pleased no one. Rosés must be labelled either "traditional", meaning made by the old
methods, or "blended"; a move that offend the French winemakers. While there were
threats by France to outlaw blended rosés, the EU still approved the method of blend-
ing, but with certain conditions. This caused much fury with traditional winemakers,
critics, and especially with the French who are very passionate and rooted in tradi-
tional winemaking. The general belief is that the EU has destroyed rosés by allowing
blending. French winemaker Christophe Delorme, who makes Travel rosés, was very
vocal when he described EU lawmakers as "politicians are a kind of cancer that spoils
everything"; such is the Frenchman's passion for traditions.
The flavours of rosé wines tend to be more subtle versions of their red wine varietal
counterparts. It's also a great picnic wine, as it tends to have both a lighter body and
more delicate flavours on the palate, presenting a great wine partner for ham, along
with fruit, potato or egg salad, and can even handle a variety of chips and dips. Rosés
are also the perfect guest for a backyard barbecue, tackling hamburgers, hot dogs
and even French fries and ketchup with ease.
If you have heard somewhere that rosé wines are feminine because of the hues of
pink, that is certainly in the past, as rosé have now shed that perception and have
been by turning up at occasions where drinkers wish for something light and fruity,
crispy and refreshing, and with a little colour. I have often been asked the question of
the varying hues of rosés and whether the colour defines the taste and flavours, and
also -- "what is a good rosé?" There are many styles of rosés, from fruity to savoury
to sweet; next time I will bring you the different styles of rosés and the various re-
gions, then you can try them all and decide which pink you will be drinking.
C E E
By Phyllis Moreau
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