As with all things, wine styles and tastes often change with the times. What is in vogue today might be old news tomorrow. One wine that has recently made extraordinary leaps in popularity is Rosé. With ties to the oldest growing region in France, Rosé has been a cultural staple since the ancient Greeks ruled their empire. Winemaking has changed, evolved and modernized since then but Rosé has endured. This delicious wine is being made in almost every major wine producing region in the world using an amazing array of varietals, from Pinot noir, Grenache and Syrah, to many lesser known varietals like Mourvédre, Cinsault, and Tempranillo.
There are two primary production styles of modern Rosé: The first is called saignée (the French term to bleed) which takes place in red wine production. After maceration (the crushing of the grapes), the wine maker will allow the grape skins and juice to soak, extracting color, tannin and flavor. After several hours, the wine maker will then drain a portion of the juice into another vessel to begin fermentation. By draining some of the juice the wine maker achieves two goals. The first is to concentrate the flavors and color of the red wine and the second is to make a delectable Rosé from the juice that has been drained from the vat. Because these Rosés are in contact with the grape skins for a longer period, they tend to have more saturated color and flavor. The second production style is called direct pressing. The wine maker will press the red grapes and almost immediately transfer the juice to a fermenting vessel. Since the juice is only in contact with the skins for a short period of time these wines tend to be lighter in color with more delicate flavors and aromas.
With the amazing diversity in varietals and with different production techniques it is no surprise that there are many different styles of Rosé. Everything from the beautiful floral strawberry notes of Pinot Noir, to the watermelon and lemon aromas of Grenache and the dark cherry and orange rind flavors of the Italian Aglianico Rosés, there is almost nothing better than enjoying a glass of Rosé on a warm spring day. Rosé also pairs exceptionally well with food. Try a light Rosé of Pinot Noir with a spinach and goat cheese salad or with scallops, or try a Bandol Rosé with more pronounced flavors like paella, olives, and charcuterie.
Stop in and try our two new favorites, Domaines Ott, BY. OTT 2016, Provence, France and Margerum Riviera Rosé, Santa Barbara 2015.