The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

La Vie en Rosé

Posted on | May 25, 2010 | Written by Jane Nelson | 1 Comment

My favorite time of year is here: Rosé season is finally upon us. I look forward to this moment every year—the warm weather, the picnics, the general improvement of everyone’s mood; and the deliciously refreshing, happy pink-colored wines. Still, I find myself getting a little sad for Rosé, because so many people snicker at it, pooh-pooh its inclusion on a wine list or wrongfully refer to all pink-colored wines as “white zinfandel.” I am a proud lover of Rosé. Don’t judge me!

Given its pleasure potential, Rosé is extremely underrated. Part of the low opinion of Rosé stems from the misconception that all pink-hued wine is cheap, mass-produced and thoughtless. This, in fact, is not true. Today, there is a vast array of quality Rosé produced throughout the Old and New Worlds. France’s warmer, southern regions produce and consume a large amount of Rosé, most often made of the Grenache and Cinsault grapes and crafted particularly in Provence, Southern Rhône, the Languedoc DOC and Roussillon. Spain is another major player on the Rosé field, where it’s known as Rosado (lighter pink versions) or Clarete for (for darker pink or light reds). Pink wines are called Rosato in Italy, and some of my favorite are made from the Nebbiolo grape. Recently, I tasted a very interesting Pinot Noir Rosé from Oregon.

The most common method of making Rosé wines is to use a short maceration of the juice and the skins of dark-skinned grapes after crushing. Producers macerate just long enough to extract the color. The juice and the skins are then separated by draining or pressing, and the juice is then fermented in the same fashion as white wine.

Much of the bad press surrounding Rosé stems from a time when white wines reigned supreme, and the practice of inserting the descriptive word “white” before or after the name of darker-skinned grape names (such as in White Zinfandel or Cabernet Blanc) gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s in California. It’s all about the marketing, and people thought that giving these pink-colored wines jazzier names would help them hold their heads high alongside the other noble wines of the world. Fortunately, marketing trends change, and producers are once again embracing the proper nomenclature for these wines: Rosé.

I’ll be honest. I’m out for Rosé converts. I encourage you to embrace Rosé during this season that lends itself so perfectly to consuming this wine. It’s also worth noting that a lot of good Rosé on the market is affordable, and it’ll soon be appearing on shelves all over the place. Sip a glass or three on a hot summer day. I defy you to tell me that there’s not a more pleasant experience under the sun.


One Response to “La Vie en Rosé”

  1. Kerry-Jo Rizzo
    May 25th, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

    i’m really excited about our new Ca’ dei Mandorli Brachetto d’Acqui!!! go Rose!!!

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