Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v07n10)
The Wine Scene - by Jill A. Ditmire
posted: May 14, 2010
STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
Rose (pronounced Rose-aay) wines are some of the most misunderstood. What a shame. (Or maybe not. The less people know about these fresh, crisp, dry, food friendly wines, the more for those of us who do! Kind of like what happened to Pinot Noir-- it was an unknown red wine grape prized by those who had experienced it. Then exploited after the movie "Sideways". But I digress.)
Rose is a STYLE of wine. Not a varietal. For example, White Zinfandel is Zinfandel (the grape varietal) done in the rose style.
When winemakers harvest red wine grapes they bring them in whole cluster with skins on and place them in a barrel to ferment. After that first fermentation the grapes are dumped to a second barrel where they get pressed and the skins separated from the juice.
The juice that is released in the FIRST barrel-is the juice used to make rose wine.
Winemakers take that juice, add yeast-and the yeast eats the sugars in the juice raising the alcohol level. Winemakers check the sugar level of the grapes to determine when to harvest. Usually a brix level of 23 is the goal, but some grapes can hang longer and the levels can get higher. This allows the winemaker to create a pink wine that is dry or sweet.
For example: Zinfandel. This grape can hang on the vine along time so sugar levels can be quite high. When making rose style, the yeasts can eat all of the sugars and create a dry, pink wine. Or the winemaker can stop the fermentation and leave what is called "residual sugars" in the juice. This makes a sweet rose style of wine.
Rose wines are great with food-as most have a refreshing, bright red berry flavor yet a clean, minerality. In the summer when the temps are in the 80's and you think you want a red wine but the thought of a heavy Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon seems to be too much, try it in the rose style.
Some of my favorites that are found locally:
Crios Rose of Malbec, Argentina-Ripe, rich aromas and flavors of mulberry, blueberry with crisp minerality. Serve with grilled tuna or brats on the grill.
Ken Forester Petit Rose, South Africa-This dry pink wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Lovely aromas and flavors of plum, cherry, blueberry with a bone dry finish. Great with grilled chicken or pork.
Rosy the Riveter, Oregon-Great label on this off dry pink rose wine. Aromas and flavors of bright cherry, with subtle hints of vanilla on the finish. Great with burgers or pizza.
Charles and Charles Rose, Washington-Syrah is the star grape in this dry pink wine. Lots of oomph in the aromas and flavors of wild raspberry, gingery spice and bone dry finish. For those who love big bold reds, this is your choice in a rose style.
Jill A. Ditmire is an Omnimedia wine specialist, AWS certified wine judge, freelance broadcast journalist and 20+ year home owner in the Warfleigh neighborhood of Broad Ripple. Send your questions and comments to Jill at email@example.com
Also on INSTAGRAM @jaditmire