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Tannic Panic! Issue #6: Rosés Aren't Red
Summertime Sippin' The Pink Stuff
I don’t trust people who don’t like rosé. They’re the same folks who don't enjoy beautiful sunsets, classic movies, or cuddly puppies – THEY’RE WRONG.
So, if you’re a fan of the pink drink (you are, trust me), sit back, fill up your glass, and get ready to live the humble dream as we waltz into the whimsical world of rosé. If you're not... well, I guess you can read this while sipping on your sad, rosé-less life (seriously though, don’t make this weird – pour yourself a glass AND LIKE IT.)
Let’s start with the Carfax – producing rosé wine involves the delicate balancing act of extracting enough color from the grape skins to achieve the desired hue, but not so much that the wine becomes a red. There are numerous methods to achieve this, but the three most popular are:
Maceration Method: This is the most common method for producing rosé and is similar to the process used for red wine, but involves a much shorter maceration period. I know what you’re thinking and you need to GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER – maceration is the part of the winemaking process for reds and white where the skins of the crushed grapes are allowed to “mingle” with the juice, imparting some color and tannins into the wine (and no, it won’t make you go blind). For rosé, this process may take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the desired color intensity (typically 12-24 hours). Once the winemaker is satisfied with the color, the juice is separated from the skins and fermented into rosé wine.
Direct Pressing Method: Also known as "pressurage direct," this method is like the white winemaking process, but with red-skinned grapes. After crushing, the grapes are immediately pressed to extract the juice. Because the contact with the skins is so minimal, the resulting rosé is typically very pale in color. This is the most common method of making rosé in Provence.
Saignée Method: Saignée means 'bleed' in French, and this method begins as if making a red wine. Shortly after the red grapes are crushed, a small portion of the juice is 'bled off' and fermented separately as a rosé. This method often results in a richer and darker rosé because it was initially part of a red winemaking process. This method traditionally used to make a style of rosé that’s been produced in Bordeaux for centuries called “claret,” which is pronounced CLAIR-AY – not to be confused with the English term for Bordeaux blends also called “claret,” but pronounced CLAIR-ETTE (BECAUSE THAT’S NOT AT ALL CONFUSING). In recent years this age-old rosé style has dwindled in popularity in Bordeaux due to the wines being harsher and less approachable than their Provencal cousins.
There is, of course, a fourth, less common, and sometimes controversial method, known as Blending, where a small amount of red wine is added to a vat of white wine to make rosé.
While this is typically discouraged in most wine regions, it is the standard method for creating rosé Champagne in Champagne, France.
Each method will result in a different style and profile of rosé, and because rosé is, above all else, defined by its coloration (ranging in hue from pale salmon to embarrassed flamingo), a wide variety of grapes can be used to produce it, and pretty much every wine-producing country has some to offer. This means that, contrary to what you may have been led to believe, NOT ALL ROSÉ TASTES THE SAME.
To prove it to you, we’ve gone out and picked a handful of bottles you can pick up TODAY that will knock your crudely knitted socks off with their unique and vibrant flavor profiles. Try one, try them all – whatever you decide, you won’t regret it (ESPECIALLY IF YOU TRY THEM ALL).
2022 Famille Perrin Reserve Rosé, Cotes du Rhone, France / 89 Points / $9
You’ve probably spotted this little pink corksucker at your local literally everywhere — heck, MAYBE YOU’VE EVEN TRIED IT BEFORE. Well as rosés under $10 go, this one is a solid get. It features tart strawberry and citrus notes, with a hint of wet rock and crisp acidity. It’s light bodied, with a nice (but relatively short) finish. It’s fairly simple, but if you’re working on a tight budget, that’ll do.
2022 Bieler Pére & Fils ‘Sabine’ Rosé, Provence, France / 92 Points / $12 (VALUE PICK!!!)
Classic Provencal color, this pale pink puppy pops with ripe strawberry, nectarine, cantaloupe, flowers and lemon zest, with a refreshing saline/mineral note on the finish.
Takes me directly to the pool deck somewhere in the Mediterranean on a hot Summer’s day. Good concentration on the palate, medium+ bodied, medium+ finish. OOOoooEEEE! Amazing value at just $12.
2021 Domaine Loubejac Rosé, Willamette Valley, Oregon / 93 Points / $17
This bad boy features a medium pink color, like a saturated Provence rosé, but don’t let the French name and writing on the label fool you — Domaine Loubejac is located in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, and the wine is a gorgeous representation of its terroir. Fragrant aromas dance from the glass – white flowers, lychee, apricots and ripe golden apples, with juicy flavors that carry through to the palate.
Medium bodied and dry with fresh acidity and a long finish. This wine is layered and beautifully balanced. Grab it at your local Total Wine & More.
2021 Herve Baudry Romana Rosé, Sancerre, France / 94 Points / $22
Beautiful deep pink the color of a dramatic summer sunset — you practically get your money’s worth just staring at the glass. When you are done staring, you’ll find pronounced aromas of honeysuckle, white peach, white pepper and strawberry cream cheese, and concentrated flavors that hang on the palate.
Medium bodied and dry, wonderfully balanced and complex with lush acidity and delicious, lingering flavors.
Also available at Total Wine & More, this one is absolutely worth forking over those extra coppers.
Ahh rosé, the pink panther of the wine world. Whether it's paired with barbecued lions mane mushrooms, a cheese board, or a chocolate bar you found at the bottom of your fanny pack, it's always ready to party.
Now if you'll excuse us, we have a date with a chilled bottle and our matching sunburns.
Happy drinking, y’all.
Isaac & Zach
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