Featured wine: Rosé (Rosado, Rosato)
A rosé (From French: rosé, ‘pinkish’) wine has some of the color typical of a red wine, but only enough to turn it pink. The pink color can range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes and wine making techniques.
There are three major ways to produce rosé wine.
The first is used when rosé wine is the primary product. Red-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically two or three days. The grapes are then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The skins contain much of the strongly flavored tannin and other compounds, which leaves the taste more similar to a white wine. The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine.
Rosé wine can be produced as a by-product of red wine fermentation using a technique known as Saignée, or bleeding the vats. When a winemaker desires to impart more tannin and color to a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must can be removed at an early stage. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced, and the must involved in the maceration is concentrated. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé.
Blending, the simple mixing of red wine to a white to impart color, is uncommon. This method is discouraged in most wine growing regions except for Champagne. Even in Champagne, several high-end producers do not use this method but rather the saignée method.
Il Mimo Rosato (Italy) $15.49
Sur de los Andes, Rosado Malbec (Argentina) $9.95
Ombra Rose di Pino - sparkling rose (Italy) $14.99
Big House Pink (California) $10.95
Wolffer Rose (Long Island, New York) $12.95
Crab (boiled or steamed)
Because it can be made from so many different grapes and methods, there is a tremendous variety of rosé on the market. At one local wine shop I counted over 20 different offerings today. This is another wonderful summer wine, but I find that it can be enjoyed year-round with just about any food. One of my favourites is the Il Mimo, which has grown in popularity (and price) over the years. The Ombra is another that I enjoy regularly. I goes nicely with sushi and turns any ordinary weeknight meal into a celebration. Cream sauces and oysters don't play very will with rosé, but just about everything else does. Try it with roast chicken, with fish 'n' chips, with a dinner omelette, with a picnic in the park. It really is an everything wine.