Pink wine coming back?
For years, most wine merchants say, quality rosé wines have been a hard sell, with most wine fanciers preferring to stick to the traditional white and red categories and declining to think pink.
But this attitude seems to be changing in the Summer of 2001. A while back, I dropped in on a local fine-wine shop and found the proprietor presiding over a serious tasting of French rosés. And since the weather turned hot, adds the wine manager of a large Louisville-area retailer, serious rosé has been "flying off the shelves."
Wine lovers seem to be getting the message that pink wines in the Mediterranean tradition - including rosés from Provence, the Rhone and Languedoc in France, pink Rosato from Italy and Rosado from Spain - can offer just about everything you would want in a summer wine: They are bone-dry, freshly fruity and crisp, with delicious nuances of herbs and spice that evoke the lavender-scented hillsides of Provence. They're refreshing when served well chilled, and they go very well with dinner salads and light summer fare.
The best rosés are made from red wine grapes, but the grape skins (which contain all the color) are taken out of the fermenting vessel before they have time to impart much color to the wine. The result is a wine that varies from the palest pink to copper or salmon hues, a range of color that the French describe with a bewildering array of names from "vin gris" ("gray wine") to "oeil de perdrix" ("partridge eye") to "pelure d'oignon" ("onion skin").
Although their popularity is increasing, it's still hard to find an expensive pink wine (although the sought-after Domaine Tempier of Bandol in Provence can top $20). Below you'll find my notes on a pair of good ones in the under-$10 range.
What's your opinion? Do you enjoy or shun pink wine? To talk about this topic in our interactive Wine Lovers' Discussion Group, click http://www.wineloverspage.com/cgi-bin/sb/index.cgi?fn=1. Or send me E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I regret that the growing circulation of the "Wine Advisor" makes it difficult for me to reply individually to every note. But I'll respond to as many as I can and do my best to address specific questions. Please be assured that all your input helps me do a better job of writing about wine.
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Two tasty roses
Clear rosy red in color, this simple rosé breathes light, fresh-fruit aromas. Simple and refreshing fruit flavors are as pure as fresh strawberries, dry and tart. U.S. importer: Kysela Pere et Fils Ltd., Winchester, Va. (July 1, 2001)
Eric Texier 2000 Pays de la Crau Côtes de Provence Rosé ($9.99)
FOOD MATCH: Both rosés make a natural match with a salade Niçoise topped with alder-smoked salmon.
July feature: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Our featured wine for July is a crisp, aromatic white wine that we hope will help you learn to focus on specific fruit flavors: It's a 2000 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, labeled "Brancott" in the United States and "Montana" in in most other countries.
Please click to http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/wt101.shtml for the details on this wine (and suggested alternatives) as well as information on how to participate.
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Vol. 3, No. 24, July 2, 2001