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Issue Date: July 2008


Break the Rose Barrier

Break the Rosé Barrier Myths abound about the pink stuff, but that shouldn’t keep you from discovering rosé’s secrets.s wine trends go, no other style offers such diverse reactions as rosé.

For some, merely the suggestion of ordering a glass causes furrowed brows. For others, sipping perfectly chilled pink wine on a sunny afternoon is like taking a mini vacation to the south of France.

Rosé is riddled with misconceptions and unfairly compared to age-worthy reds. Designed to be consumed immediately, it’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get wine whose time has come — so let’s bust a few myths.

Myth No. 1: Pink wines are cheap. Rosé wines are pink because the winemaker wanted to make a pink wine, not because she wanted to make an inexpensive wine. In fact, some rosés can rival white and red wine prices and are made in limited quantities, making them a seasonal gem.
Myth No. 2: If it’s pink, it’s sweet. Rosé wines can be crafted bone dry, off dry or medium sweet. The level of sweetness is the winemaker’s choice. Many are vinified completely dry, making them great partners for the summer table.

Myth No. 3: All rosés are similar to white Zinfandel. The only rosé wine that is similar to white Zinfandel is blush wine made from Zinfandel. Today, fabulous rosés are made around the world using a variety of grapes, including Malbec, Sangiovese, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and St. George.

Myth No. 4: Real men don’t drink pink. All wine gets its color from the skin of the grape. The most common extraction method involves letting the juice sit on the red skins for 12 to 96 hours, which gives the final product a ruby pink hue. The pink color is a function of time on the skins and has nothing to do with gender.

While noteworthy reds are fantastic in the glass, they are not the benchmark with which to measure all other wine styles. Like apples and oranges (or grapes), the comparisons are faulty and show little understanding of the fruit. Summer is on, so uncork rosé and give the trophy reds a rest.

Marianne Frantz, CWE and founder of the Cleveland Wine School, was joined by her tasting consultants in selecting and sampling wines for this month’s Cellar Notes.

2006 Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec, Argentina ($12): Dry, pale ruby and medium light in body. Produced from Malbec fruit, the wine is fruity with an excellent acidity. Try it with grilled sausages.

2006 A to Z Rosé, Oregon, USA ($15): Fruity and pale ruby. Medium bodied and made from the Italian grape Sangiovese. Pronounced strawberry and cherry aromas are supported by crisp acidity. A great wine for the table.

2006 Skouras Agiorgitiko Zoë!, Greece ($12): Dry, ruby red. Crafted from native Agiorgitiko grapes harvested in the Peloponnese region of Greece. Lively cranberry, earth and tobacco aromas make it a perfect kickoff wine for rosé season.

2006 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare, Santa Cruz, California, USA ($14): Dry, pale copper-pink color. Medium bodied, the wine is made from southern Rhône grapes such as Cinsault, Grenache or Syrah, giving aromas of cherry, strawberry, citrus, tea leaves and dried red flowers.

2006 Donã Paula Los Cardos Malbec Rosé, Argentina ($11): Dry, pale ruby. Light-bodied wine made from the Malbec grapes. Crisp acidity with red fruits and citrus on the palate. A great value wine.

2005 Domaines Ott, Côtes de Provence, France ($22): A gem from the rosé capital of the world, Provence. Light pink, medium in body with refreshing acidity and light aromas of red fruits and dried flowers.

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