Yes, it's still winter. And rich, savory red wines are great with a hardy, warm meal. But with Valentine's Day near and spring being just around the corner, I thought I might touch on rosé wines.
Rosé wines have gotten a bad rap, and some of it is deserved. The White Zinfandel that became so popular in years' past has had a lot to do with rosé wines being greatly overlooked. And many times a rosé can be rather tasteless and weak, nothing there.
But rosés should not be rejected outright. There are many examples of rosés with great character. Light rosés can have flavors of grapefruit, strawberry and sweet cherry, while darker, bolder rosés can have flavors of black currant and blackberry. These flavors come from the many varieties of grapes used to produce rosé. Fruity rosé can come from the Grenache, Sangiovese and Zinfandel grapes while savory rosé is made from Tempranillo, Syrah and even Cabernet Sauvignon. Other rosés are made from Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, Cinsault and Clairette grapes. Check the label. Nicer rosés will tell you the type of grape used in making the wine.
A couple of keys to finding dry versus sweet rosé are alcohol content and where they are made. Sweeter wines, in general, have lower alcohol levels (not all the sugar was converted to alcohol during fermentation). All wines labels are required to show the percent alcohol of the wine. If it's down around 8 or 9 percent, it's going to be sweet. In the 11 to 12 percent range, it will be mid-range between sweet and dry. And, above 12 percent it's going to be dry. And, typically, rosés from Old World countries are going to be drier. French rosés from Provence are made of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mouvèdre, Spanish rosé (rosado) is typically made from the Grenache grape while Italian rosato is made with various grapes depending on where they are from. These are all excellent, dry rosés that are typically quite affordable. You should be able to find a nice rosé under $20.
Rosé wines go great with a large variety of foods and are typically served cool to cold. In future posts, I'll touch on the various methods for producing a rosé wine and discuss acidity since many rosés have bright acidity that works well with many food pairing.
If you haven't taken rosé seriously up to now, I suggest you give it a try. You are likely to be surprised! Cheers!
Behind the Cork™ Wine of the Week - Francis Coppola Sofia Rosé ($13)
This is a nice, light rosé that's dry (the 12.5% alcohol listed on the label should tip you off that it's dry). This is a blend of Syrah and Pinot Noir with flavors of cherry, raspberry and citrus zest. Chill it and enjoy!
A little trivia - Francis Ford Coppola named this rosé for his daughter, Sofia, who is an Academy Award winning screenwriter, director, producer and actress.