Certainly there are many plusses to residing in sunny Florida; the consistent warm weather surely is at the top of anyone’s list. And as a fan of rosé wines, I find this conducive to sipping a refreshing glass of pink the whole year round. Yes, you could quaff a dry white wine here. But I think dry rosés are a better match with a wider array of foods. Typically they have a deeper flavor profile than many white wines do too. I think of them as the best of all worlds: the big flavors of a red wine coupled with the thirst-quenching knack of a chilled white.
Most dry rosés owe their existence to red wine grapes like Grenache, Mourvedre or Syrah, although technically you can make rosé out of almost any red grape. It’s the natural pigment in the skins of red grapes that gives red wine its color. How much color depends on how long the grape juice (called “must”) stays in contact with the skins. The longer the must and skins soak together, in a vat or tank for example, the more color is extracted. A winemaker can separate the skins from the juice at the opportune time. Doing so after a short soak ultimately produces rosé wine versus a red one.
The color of rosé can range from a light copper hue, to a bright salmon color, to a deep coral pink, depending on the grape varieties and winemaking methods used. Virtually every wine producing nation has its own versions, but many of the best come from the south of France, where they pair well with the local Mediterranean cuisine.
The popularity of rosé from Provence is reaching nearly mythical status these days. Even A-List Hollywood stars are establishing roots in the region and trying their hand at making them. For a taste of Provence without the paparazzi, try the Cuvee Tradition Rosé from Domaine Gavoty ($17) comprised of Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan and Rolle with focused raspberry, flowers, rosemary and crushed stones.
Perhaps the most toney address for rosé lies west of Toulon in appellation of Bandol, where powerful and age worthy wines are the standard. Considered one of the top estates in Bandol, Chateau de Pibarnon ($27) melds Mourvedre with Cinsault into an expressive, full-bodied rosé with citrus, red fruits, litchi nut, and tarragon.
Good rosé wine can certainly be made outside of France too. Casas del Bosque in Chile makes a delicious Casas del Bosque Syrah Rosé Reserva ($13) with a bright coral rim, teeming with zesty raspberry and watermelon fruit.
Dry rosés are terrific paired with traditional Provençal cuisine including bouillabaisse, baked chicken, tapenade, grilled fish and cheeses.
Jim Greely, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinejimg