Behind the Cork™ - Toad Hollow Rosé

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2017 Toad Hollow ‘Eye of the Toad’ Rosé of Pinot Noir ($12)

This is certainly the time of year when a cool, crisp and refreshing rosé is just perfect. And this Toad Hollow Rosé of Pinot Noir is a good one. This ‘Eye of the Toad‘ rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir from Sonoma County.

Toad Hollow picks their grapes at lower sugar levels which results in their rosé being lower in alcohol (11.5%) and bright, mouth-watering acidity.

And, while this rosé has flavors of watermelon, strawberry and white peach, its sweet flavors are all from the fruit with very low sugar (0.18 Residual Sugar).

So, when you’re looking for a nice refreshing wine to enjoy on a hot day, look for this Toad Hollow. Like all Behind the Cork™ features, this wine is widely available and affordable. Cheers!

Ever Wonder How Rosé is Made?


Spring-time is a great time to start enjoying Rosé. It’s bright fruit flavors and wonderful acidity makes a nice chilled rosé very thirst quenching. And its bright pink hue just seems to go with all the beautiful blooms of the season. But, you may wonder how the color of this wine is achieved.

Rosé is made from red wine grapes.  But, it's made in the traditional white wine making process. Hence, the process can be a bit confusing. 

So, first, realize that all juice from wine grapes, whether from red grapes or white grape, is nearly clear. And, all the color in a finished wine comes from the skin of the grapes, not from the juice.

With that in mind, rosé wines are made in a couple different ways.

Maceration is the most common method used. The word 'Maceration' literally means to soften by soaking. And in the case of rosé production, it means to allow the grape skins to soak in the grape's juice. For rosé, the red wine grape skins spend limited time (2-24 hours) soaking with the juice. Just enough to give it its pink color.

The Saignèe ("San-yay") method allows the grapes to be crushed under their own weight and the 'free run' juice is collected.  Since this juice spends such little time in contact with the red grape skins, the resulting color is light pink.

Regardless of the method used, rosés can be dry or sweet. Typically, rosés with alcohol levels around 8 or 9 percent are going to be quite sweet.  In the 11 to 12 percent range, they will be mid-range between sweet and dry. And, above 12 percent it's going to be dry. So, check the label. The alcohol level must always be shown.

And, remember, with rosé wines they should be enjoyed young (within two years of its vintage) while they still have their bright fruit flavors and crisp acidity, and they should be served cold.

Behind the Cork™ - Bodegas Ochoa Calendas Rosé


Bodegas Ochoa Calendas Rosé ($12)

This is another wonderful offering from the Navarra region of Spain. This rosé of Garnacha (70%) and Tempranillo (30%) is bright cherry red in color and has a beautifully soft mouth-feel.

This rosé is produced by maceration, or “bleeding” of the grapes where the grape skins and flesh is left in the juice (must) for just six hours. Then, without pressing, the must is drained off and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats.

While the bright cherry red color of this rosé suggests a big, bold flavor, what you get is a delicate wine with soft flavors of strawberry and raspberry.

At 13.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) this is a dry rosé with little to no residual sugar. The only “sweetness” comes from the ripe fruit flavors.

As usual, this Ochoa Calendas rosé is a great value for such a bright, flavorful wine. Chill this one down and enjoy. Cheers!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Rebekah Polster, Navarra Media Consultant, 401 West Communications

Behind the Cork™ - Cune Rosado


2018 Cune Rosado ($13)

This wonderful Cune rosé is from the Rioja region of Spain and is made from their famous Tempranillo.

The bright red color of this Cune rosé is spectacular. And, hence, it’s big Maraschino cherry and ripe strawberry flavors are no surprise.

These grapes are handpicked and placed in stainless steel tanks at low temperature to delay the onset of fermentation. During these 24 to 48 hours, the must develops this bright red color and then is drained from the vat. Fermentation then begins but it is maintained at 16-18C to preserve the bright aromas and fruit flavors characteristic of this Cune rosé.

Serve this one nicely chilled and enjoy! Cheers!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Donna White of Donna White Communications

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

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2017 Beronia Rioja Rosé ($13)

This wonderfully refreshing Rosé comes from the Rioja region of Spain, is produced by Beronia winery and distributed in the U.S. by González Byass wines.  It's a nice blend of 40% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 30% Viura (a.k.a. Macabeo) which is also used in the production of Cava.  

This is a dry rosé (13% ABV) that is pale pink in color with bright strawberry aroma. It has refreshing acidity that results in a nice fresh finish.

This is a great choice for picnic outdoors or just enjoying its refreshing flavors on a warm day in the backyard. Pair it with Spring!  Look for this delicious rosé. You will enjoy this one!

Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.


Sample Provided by Donna White Communications