By Noel Burkeen
Patio season is in full swing, and nothing compliments outdoor relaxation and events like a nice cool glass of wine. For those wine lovers who enjoy the multitude of white wines, the quest is easy, but perhaps you are craving a new adventure in the world of cool summer wines. If a big red is your normal indulgence, then your palate might register a white wine as liquid air with a hint of citrus. Never fear, the best of both worlds is waiting to unveil a cornucopia of new flavors, refresh you in the sun, and do it with enough backbone to wrestle in the same weight class as your standard bottle of red wine.
The answer, Rosé! With the flavor and dryness of a red wine but the body of a white wine!
Yes my fellow vinofiles, Rosé is a wonderful combination of both red and white wines. Rosé originates from red grapes and is made in several different ways. The red grape varieties used typically stem from what is growing in the region of origin: Grenache, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz, and on and on.
One of the ways Rosé is made is a method called “bleed-off.” This happens when a winemaker wants to intensify the tannins in a red wine and a portion of the juice that has been fermenting with the red grape skins is removed early. This, now dark pink, juice is rich, warm, and dense with all of the yummy flavor of the red grape skins, yet light enough in body to go down like a cool breeze in the shade. A more traditional way to make Rosé is to fill massive bins with tons of red grapes so much that they crush themselves with their own weight. The grape juice slowly trickles down through the red skins to an opening in the bottom of the bin, and then is gathered drop by drop.
The challenge for Rosé is that its color can give consumers mixed signals. Since it is “red skin-kissed” pink, it is commonly mistaken as something other than what it truly is. Sweet wine drinkers often categorize it with White Zinfandel, a Blush wine that has a high amount of residual sugars. One sip of Rosé and the sweet wine lover can get a horrible first impression never to return and discover the treasures that await them once their palate has climbed a few steps on the staircase of wine evolution.
Red wine drinkers generally like more than the flavor and body of their big red, and they sometimes display their degree of wine drinking like a diploma or college ring. This, too, presents a challenge for Rosé because these serious wine graduates feel like carrying around a glass of the “pink stuff” puts them back in with the Freshman Class.
My friends, I would ask you to remember that wine is a part of the good life and meant to break the levity of the day; a fun relaxation that fills your senses with great enjoyment. Cast aside the cover of the book, and discover a new world inside that brings a greater existence to your life. The Texas heat is upon us, and Rosé can be the cool shade in which we all find summertime bliss.
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