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Two Women on Wine: Rosé deserves more respect

Posted: May 7, 2009 3:03 p.m.
Updated: May 8, 2009 6:00 a.m.
Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier
Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier
Raise your hand if you think rosé wine is the lightweight stepchild of fine wine.
We would expect to see a lot of hands raised about now. That's unfortunate because rosé deserves more respect than it often gets.
Rosé is an incredibly user-friendly wine, whether it's paired with a variety of elegant, simple foods, or served alone to sip on a balmy summer night. Not only that, rosé is one of the most reasonably priced wines you'll find on the market.

Let's start by clearing up a few misconceptions about rosé, which is the French word for pink. First, a true rosé is not a "blush" wine or a blend of white and red wine. A true rosé is carefully produced from crushed red grapes. The skins are removed early in the process so the wine takes on just a bit of color but not too many tannins. The alcohol content of most rosés is around 12 percent. The result? A light, crisp and very drinkable wine.

Some wine drinkers consider rosé to be a wine without character: it's neither red nor white; it's not sweet, but not really dry. While it may be true that rosé is not a complex wine, a good one has plenty of character, starting with the bouquet: light, floral scents and red berries.

The color of rosé ranges from a light orange tint to a rosy pink. On the palate, a hint of strawberries, even a splash of citrus can be detected. Altogether, rosé is a lighter, crisper alternative to red.

So what do you do with rosé?

Start by making sure it's well chilled. Rosé is often called a summertime wine. Not a bad label, but it shortchanges the virtue of this wine. For the record, we're not old-school proponents who say that rosé is only a summer wine. We've been known to break out a bottle or two in the chill of winter. But there's something about the crisp, light flavor of a good rosé that seems ideally suited to a warm summer evening.

As wines go, rosé is a little quirky and should be served young. Don't stick it in the wine rack to age for years. Drink it now.
Here's the best news: you can serve rosé with all sorts of foods. It's outstanding with grilled foods like chicken, salmon, sausage, lamb, and vegetables. As these spring days lengthen into summer nights, give rosé a chance at the table.

Rosé does not overwhelm food, because it's got the right balance of fruit and acidity. Throw a bottle in your picnic basket and enjoy it with turkey or roast beef sandwiches. Rosé even pairs well with pizza.

But here's a caveat: don't cook with rosé. It's too light to impart significant flavor. So we encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and give rosé a chance. There are many types of rosés: rosé of pinot noir; rosé of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz rosé... just to name a few.

A few roses we would recommend would be 2006 Vega Sindoa from Navarra, Spain, a blend of Granacha and Cabernet Sauvignon, elegant with a velvety texture. Another would be a Shiraz Rosé from Australia called Bon-Bon, 2006. This wine is filled with raspberries and strawberries.

Tempted but still not sure? Join us for a special evening devoted just to rosés. On Wednesday, May 27, Vino 100 will present the next installment in our popular Meet the Grape series: Rosé. Sure to delight you, enjoy an evening of wine tasting featuring various rosés from Spain, Australia and California. Sip, swirl and enjoy. You will be pleasantly surprised! Cheers!


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