What we’re drinking: Rose

Mary writes:

Say! How ‘bout a rosé?

It’s the best lunchtime, lakeside, picnic and food wine out there. It’s the ultimate compromise bottle that incorporates the best of both red and white wines in flavor, body and cool. A wine for every occasion.

The French call it rosé, rosado in Portugal and Spain and in Italy it’s rosato. Color ranges from a pale pink to dark, opaque red. The hue is determined by the grape variety and winemaking techniques used.

The three ways to make rosé: skin contact, saignée and blending. Skin contact is very much like making a cup of tea, the more you dunk the tea bag, the darker the color. Similarly, the more you punch down the cap during fermentation, the more color you get.

Saigner is the French verb for “to bleed”. This technique (saignee) bleeds off the color to make a darker wine by reducing the volume of juice. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rose.

Blending is where a tank of white is pumped into a tank of red. It was an inattentive cellar rat who accidentally made the first “white” Zinfandel.

Rosés are versatile. They can be still, semi-sparkling or sparkling. They also have a wide sweetness range from bone-dry Provençal rosé to sweet white zinfandels. Rosé are made from a wide variety of red grapes with the most widely used being zinfandel, syrah, cabernet franc, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Grenache.

Today’s wine is the bone dry Domaine Sorin 2011 Vin de Pays du Var IGP. The chateau is located on the Mediterranean cost near Bandol and Provence, home of the best rosés, in our opinion. It’s a blend of Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache that is aged in oak for a few months. This salmon colored blend offers an array of summer fruits: ripe watermelon, strawberry and peaches that show up in the bouquet and on the palate.