From our tasting on…August 18th, 2016
This tasting is another opportunity to sample the power of pink, and the range and versatility of rosé. A quick reminder: rosés don’t come from pink grapes, as convenient as that would be. Nor do they come from mixing red and white wine and shaking well. Their fresh, lively fruit and savory flavors come from ripe red grapes fermented cool to preserve their freshness. Red grapes produce red wines because their skins and pulp contain pigmented compounds (anthocynanins) that transfer color from skin to wine during soaking (maceration) and fermentation. Rosés can be produced by bleeding off free-run juice before fermentation (saignée method), or by gently crushing grapes after short (two hours to two days) skin contact and then fermenting the juice as if to make white wine. Rosés are delightful on their own (pair with porch swing), but they’re also great partners for summer foods, from salads to vegetable dishes to fish (salmon is especially good) to pork or chicken.
Today we’ll taste wines from five countries. France, usually the first country that comes to mind when rosé is the topic, provides a wine from Savoie. Made from Gamay and Mondeuse grapes harvested by hand, Eugène Carrel Vin de Savoie Rosé 2015 is a press wine with partial malolactic fermentation that spends time on the lees. Both techniques contribute to its juicy roundness while letting the fruit shine.
We have two wines made from the same grape, Pinot Noir, one local and one from Germany. Forge Cellars Rosé 2015 was bottled and labeled by hand on August 9, so it’s a late arrival on the local scene. The juice spends 16 hours on the skins and goes through a slow, cool fermentation, producing a wine with great depth of flavor. Züm Rosé 2015 comes from the rolling hills of the Nahe River, east of the Mosel and south of the Rhein. Both of these wines are made of cool-climate sourced fruit and pair well with summer salads and fresh cheeses.
Our last two wines are decidedly darker in color and hail from warmer locations. They’re also made from grapes with thicker skins and more color. Celler de Capçanes Mas Donís Rosat 2015 is made from organically grown Garnacha, Merlot, and Syrah by a co-op in Montsant, Spain. Along with its red fruits, it offers subtle, smoky black tea and rose hip notes, inviting grilled veggies. Our darkest rosé, Argiolas Serra Lori Rosato 2015, comes from Sardinia off Italy’s west coast. It, too, is dominated by Grenache, known as Cannonau here, joined by Monica, Carignano, and Bovale Sardo. This is a full-bodied rosé, as its color suggests, and pairs with grilled meats (even burgers) and seafood.
- M.P. Rouse