Rose is the perfect summer wine
The secret is out. On a hot summer evening, there is one glass of wine that works every time.
Rose wine sales in The United States have been trending up for the last two decades as we come to understand what Europeans have known for centuries: Rose is the quintessential summer wine.
Rose wine originated in Provence, France, where it has been produced since 600 B.C. With hues ranging from a pale whisper of pink to richer shades that are almost red, this wine is as beautiful as the pink flowers of summer.
All wine gets its color from the grape skins. White wine has a slight tint from the green or yellow skins. And the intensity of color in rose and red wines is determined by the length of skin contact.
Rose is typically produced in one of three ways. The first is Direct Pressing, in which the grapes are put into a vat and pressed until all of the juice has been extracted. It is then put into a separate vat and fermented. This produces the lightest Roses.
The second is maceration and bleeding. In this method, the grapes are pressed and the juice remains in contact with the skins for up to two days. This produces a darker colored rose with more intense fruit flavors.
These two methods are the preferred style in Provence, because these grapes were cultivated specifically to produce rose wines.
The third is the saignee method, which is actually a byproduct of red wine production. Grapes are put into a vat, where the weight of the grapes crush the skins and the juice that is released is bled off and fermented into wine.
Roses in the south of France are primarily made from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre grapes. But any red grape can be made into rose. Argentina produces rose of Malbec; Italy has rose of Sangiovese and Nero D’Avola, and rose of Pinot Noir comes from France and America. Try as many as you can, and explore the subtle variations.
The flavor profile of rose includes strawberry, watermelon, grapefruit, cherry, orange peel and spice. Most roses on the market are dry, but a few have a small amount of sweetness, barely discernable, which pairs beautifully with spicy food.
Check out the selection at your local wine merchant and Drink Chilled Pink this summer!
Tina Witham owns Lido Wine Merchants, at 2529 W. Main St. in Downtown Littleton. Find them online at LidoWine.com