Refreshing, dry, cool roses are in, and millions enjoy it throughout the summer. Although, at least in North America, roses fell by the wayside in the last 20 years, now they seem to have staged a comeback. Sweet, fizzy roses packaged in attractive bottles could have precipitated the “demise”, but even they have improved.
French and Spanish have never lost their appetite for dry, fragrant roses like Tavel from Cotes du Rhone, or rosados from Navarra. Both vinted using garnacha or grenache grapes, they should be consumed at most one year after bottling.
Grenache, when made in rose style, tends to oxidize fast!
Roses may be crafted with well-known and loved grape vareties. They can be almost like slender versions of your favourite reds and should be enjoyed al fresco.
Elegance is a virtue, especially in roses from temperate regions like Ontario, Navarra, Loire Valley, Trentino-Alto-Adige, Bio Bio, Wrattonbully, and Tasmania just to name a few.
This crisp, refreshing, fruity, uncomplicated pinks are lovely with summer salads, lightly herbed grilled fish, soups, antipasti, or even savoury curry fishes.
Blending red and white wines can produce roses, but true rose wines are made using the time-honoured short skin-contact technique. Once the grapes are crushed and fermentation starts the skins are separated from the juice after 10 – 16 hours.
Rose de saigne (bleeding) requires partial drawing of a batch of red wine which may be somewhat darker than pelure d’onion (onion skin) coloured rose.
Exactly, when rose wines were invented remains a mystery, but French winemakers have been making them for centuries, from Provence all the way up to the Loire valley.
French roses come in a variety of classic styles with the best-known examples from France’s sunny south. They are versatile and delicious with sautéed deep sea scallops, stuffed bell pepper, chicken satay and pizzas or pissaladiere the French version of pizza with puff pastry base, instead of Italian yeast dough.
Warmer climates in southern Spain and central Italy tend to yield roses with a bit more body and ripe sweet fruit that go well with paella, grilled fillet of salmon, bbq chicken, quesadillas and spicy sausages.
Serve rose wines cold, but never ice cold (11 – 13 C) is a good range.
Here are some rose wines you may want to try:
Cerasuolo, Paliio, 2009, Citra, Abruzzo, Italy
Exclusively vinted from the fragrant Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes. It is dark, and deeply flavoured.
Xpression Rose, 2008, Ironstone Vineyards California
Pale pink in colour with sweet cherry, strawberry and red grapefruit aromas. Medium-bodied with a sweet finish
Tavel, 2009, Chateau d’Aquierra, Cotes du Rhone, France
Rosehips, watermelon, and rose petal aromas emanate from the glass. Medium-bodied and elegant.
Parfume de Vignes Rose, 2009, Domaine Lafarge, Cotes du Roussillon, France
Dry, fruity, with a long finish
Reserve Rose, 2009, Perrin et Fils, Cotes du Rhone
Grapes are from the southern Cotes du Rhone and mostly grenache emanating cherry and strawberry aromas. Enjoy with seafood appetizers or on its own on a lazy Sunday afternoon on the patio.
Rose, 2009, Fielding Estates, Ontario
A blend of pinot noir, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon, this light rose emanates aromas of rose petals, strawberry/rhubarb and raspberry. Refreshing and off dry with a pleasant finish.
Cabernet Rose, 2009, Southbrook
Elegant strawberry and raspberry and red currant aromas waft out of the glass. Medium bodied with fine acidity.
Enjoy with breaded and deep fried calamari or antipasti. A pasta salad would also a fine pairing.