Summer is back! The season of backyard cookouts is at last upon us again. There are few things better than getting together with some good friends, sharing some good food, and even better wine. It can get pretty hot here in the Napa Valley during the summer, and my favorite way to beat the heat is with a perfectly chilled glass of Rose’. That's right, real men drink pink. I've always been a fan of Rose’s and recently decided to research them a bit more. I feel like there are a few negative misconceptions about pink wines and I'm here to set the record straight. Here are a few fun facts about Rose’ you can use to impress your friends:
Not all Rose’s are white Zinfandel.
This one kind of seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many of our guests are taken aback by our Cabernet Pink. In fact you can make a pink wine from any and all red grape varieties. White Zinfandel had quite an impression on us Californians, which is why when the word "Rose’" comes up it’s the first thing that comes to mind. But believe me, there are more than you thought there were. I encourage everyone who is not a Rose’ fan to break the stereotype and get out there and try some pinks made from other grapes! I can almost guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Wasn't Rose’ just one of those 80's trends?
I’m sure it was. But the history of Rose’ actually goes beyond this century- far beyond. We're talking ancient Greece status. Back then all wines were relatively light in color, pretty close to what our Rose’s look like today. The Greeks landed in the south of France around 600bc, bringing with them wine and grape vines. Shortly after, French winemaking was born in Provence. Provence is considered to be where the "best" Rose’s come from, but that's an opinion that's entirely up to you. California's catching on, if you ask me.
How do you make a Rose’?
I'm glad you asked. There are actually three different methods to make Rose’:
Method 1: The method we use is called "soignée", which in French means to bleed. A portion of the Cabernet juice is removed, or bled, from the fermentation tanks after crush. In doing so, the juice that's left in the tanks becomes more concentrated in color and flavor. The short amount of time that the bled juice was on the skins is all you need to change the color of the juice to pink- usually less than a day. From there the pink bled juice goes into a fermentation tank of its own to turn into awesome wine. The remainder of the Cabernet juice is left in the original tank, with the skins, to ferment for 20 or so days, and then into oak barrels.
Method 2: The next is skin contact. This is the most common way to make Rose’s. This is the method you'd use if you were making just a Rose’, rather than a Rose’ and an oaked Cabernet, like the previous method above. To sum it up, you crush your grapes and let the juice and skins hang out in contact for up to a day or two. Then all you have to do is remove the skins and voila. Rose’.
Method 3: The final method is blending. Don't over think this one - it's as straight forward as it sounds. Finished white wine and finished red wine are blended together to make a pink wine. As far as Rose’ methods go, this one is the least favorable.
Aren't all Rose’s sweet?
NO!!! The term you're looking for is "blush" wine. Those are in fact sweet wines. They're also pink in color, so it's understandable where the confusion comes into play. Most Rose’s nowadays, in California at least, are dry wines with little to no residual sugar. These dry Rose’s actually have a lot of character- bright fruit flavors and a nice balanced acidity, but are not necessarily sweet. They're pretty versatile when it comes to food pairing as well, which is pretty awesome. Anything you would bring to a picnic or a backyard cookout pairs well with a nice dry Rose’.
So there’s my Rose’ rant. I hope I've changed a few minds about pink wines! Be sure to check out our brand new
2012 Cabernet Pink, available online while it lasts, or here in our tasting room.