Local Food

Published on July 25th, 2008 | by Stuart Stein

3

Think Pink

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Diego Velasquez, Los Borrachos (The Feast of Bacchus)

Diego Velasquez, Los Borrachos (The Feast of Bacchus)

“In the beginning, Bacchus created white wine. He saw that it was good and awarded it a score of 90 points. On the second day, Bacchus created red wine and, finding it even tastier, gave it 99 points. (Actually, it deserved 100 points, but in that epoch only wines made in heaven were allowed perfect scores.) On the third day, the god made rosé and saw that it was pink. He started laughing.”

Ben Giliberti, The Washington Post, Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Let’s face it, rosé wines have somewhat of a bad rep. No wonder, if you have only tried “blush” wines, usually low in alcohol and semi-sweet, or mass produced, so-called “white” Zinfandels. In the U.S., pink wine has most often been regarded as sweet, overproduced and unsophisticated. Which for the most part, it is.

Let’s flip the coin. European consumers drink dry rosé wine regularly and in some parts of France, even more rosé than white wine. Why – rosé epitomizes summer. Rosés are all about pleasure – girls in short summer dresses and guys in tight muscle shirts.

Regardless of origin, rosés wines are made one of two ways. The first involves macerating, steeping that is, the skins of red grapes with their juice. Once the skins have imparted some color, they are removed and wine making proceeds. The second method involves blending small quantities of a finished red wine with a finished white wine to achieve the desired color and taste. Both methods can produce excellent wines.

To me, rosé champagnes and sparkling wines are the highest watermark of a winemaker’s skill. No other drink on the planet simultaneously makes a connection to welcoming, festivity, extravagance, tradition and loosened inhibition. Pink bubbly is the perfect pick-me-up. These are simply among the most beautiful wines you can put in a glass. Rosé champagnes and sparkling wines are not a step down from other sparkling wines. In fact, they usually cost more than the pale versions, because they are extra trouble to produce.

The good stuff – dry, refined, compulsively drinkable–has nothing to do with cold duck or cough-medicine-y, five bucks a pop, small “c” champagne (which should be called sparkling wine). They are more full-bodied in flavor and, as a result, they are an excellent accompaniment with food.

Rosés give you a range of red fruit flavors but without the weight or tannins of red wine. They offer a refreshing acidity that balances the sweetness of the fruit. Rosés typically offer great values. The simple structure of these wines means they are made to be sipped, even slurped. Break out the grill, your cedar planks or your smoker. Call your friends, neighbors or strangers to come on over and break open multiple bottles of chilled rosé.

There was supposedly a poll taken in Switzerland some years back that showed that when a man was seen drinking Pink Champagne with a woman, two out of three Swiss jumped to the conclusion that she was not his wife. Statistical significance aside, when drinking rosé wines, it’s a sure thing that a good time will be had by all.

Some of my Favorite Domestic Rosé Wine :
Soter Vineyards, Brut Rosé & Rosé of Pinot Noir
Argyle Winery, Brut Rosé
Ponzi Vineyards, Rosato of Pinot Noir
High Pass WineryRosé of Gamay Noir
Elk Cove Vineyards, Rosé of Pinot Noir
Abacela Vineyards & Winery, Rosado

More on sustainable wine from GO Network:
Cheers to Biodynamic Wine
Boxing in Green Wine
Biodynamic Wine in Napa Valley



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  • Rachel

    Huzzah and thanks for the paeon to rosé! I got really fond of the rosés when we lived in France; they really are a wonderful quaff when it’s warm and langorous. Of course, it never tastes the way it did sitting in the cafe in Provence, accompanied by those lovely olives and cornichons, the scent of the lavender in the air… Funny, that.

    There are some marvellous Aussie rosés as well; can’t remember any names off the top of my head, but I’d be happy to get back to you on that.

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