Top Ten Rosé Myths
January 31, 2011 2 Comments
I’m not ashamed to admit that rosé is one of my favorite types of wine. Sure, there are occasions when I reach for Riesling, savor Sauvignon Blanc or crave Cabernet, but on many a casual evening, lazy afternoon, or drink before dinner, I choose rosé! Now, I am not talking about your Mama’s White Zinfandel…I mean dry, crisp, serious rosé, which has always been made to perfection in France, Spain, and Italy. New world wine makers are also perfecting this type of pink wine, much to the delight of wine lovers everywhere.
However….even in this ever-sophisticated world, I still get ugly stares when drinking pink, so obviously the “anti-pink wine bias” is still out there. In order to do my part to wipe out pink prejudice, I offer up Miss Jane’s “Top Ten Rosé Myths – Debunked”!
Myth #1: Rosé is just red and white wine mixed together.
Truth: So…some of us might have tried that particular technique at parties in the distant past…however, quality rosé, apart from a few atypical varieties, is made from red grapes. The juice from the grapes, which is white, is allowed to ferment in contact with the grape skins, which contains all the red pigments, for a few hours or a few days, until the juice becomes a delightful pink color. At this point, the juice is pressed off the grape skins, and further fermented into wine.
Myth #2: All rosé is sweet.
Truth: Rosés come in all grades of sweetness and dryness – there’s something to suit all palates and occasions. But keep in mind…what I call a “serious” rosé is dry – making it a refreshing, food-loving, and complex wine. You might find flavors of raspberry, strawberry, pink grapefruit and watermelon – but whether the wine is sweet or not depends on the winemaking technique…not the color!
Myth #3: Rosé is cheap – therefore the quality cannot be very high.
Truth: Fair enough, there is plenty of cheap rosé out there. But…there is plenty of cheap red and white wine as well! However…take a visit to Spec’s, Twin Liquors, or Central Market and you’ll find plenty of Rosé at the pricier end of the middle range. One of my favorite Rosés…Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé…is on the shelf at Vino Vino for $39.99. I don’t know anyone who would call that “cheap”!
Myth #4: Rosé is only a glugging wine – it does not merit higher appreciation.
Truth: It is certainly true that Rosé makes a good porch sipper. Rosé wines do not generally include the “heaviness” of red wines nor the acidity of white wines – making them a perfect “easy drinker”. However…there are plenty of rosé wines with complexity, layers of flavor, and powerful flavors…just right for serious appreciation.
Truth: Certain lighter (and many times sweeter) rosés contain an average alcohol content of 10% or lower. (See myth #2, above.) However, when fermented to dryness, the alcohol content of rosé wine can be similar to standard red wines…up to 14.5%. For these wines…proceed with caution, and always drink in moderation!
Myth #6: Rosé should always be consumed young, it does not merit aging.
Truth: This is true of most rosés…however; it is not true of them all. The French regions of Provence, Languedoc, and Bandol make age-worthy rosé. For the ultimate special occasion, lay down a bottle of Vintage Rosé Champagne for a decade or more…you’ll be glad you did!
Myth #7: Rosé lacks class…brought to a nice dinner party, it would be an embarrassment.
Truth: This misconception arises from the out-dated, old-school idea that all rosé is cheap plonk. Anyone still believing this idea is behind the times! As a matter of fact, due to its legendary food-friendliness and likeability, rosé might just be the perfect wine for your elegant dinner party, Holiday gathering, or Sunday Brunch – no matter who is on the guest list!
Myth #8: Rosé is only good in warm weather.
Truth: This myth is – in part – true. Nothing can quench your thirst on a hot day like a nice rosé. However, this doesn’t mean that rosé should be avoided in colder weather – just put on a sweater, light a fire, or turn up the heat…it’s always a good day to enjoy a good rosé!
Truth: I call this myth the “Mateus Effect.” For those of you too young to recall, one of the first really popular wines in the United States was a sweet, effervescent rosé from Portugal called Mateus Rosé. It is a testament to the pervasive influence of Mateus that this impression persists. So…while there are some fabulous rosé sparkling wines, some of the best rosés in the world are still wines – meaning no bubbles!
Myth #10: Real men don’t drink rosé.
Truth: In the Basque region of Spain, there is a “guys only” tradition called Poteo. The male-bonding ritual of Poteo involves bar-hopping for an extended period of time, while indulging in glass of rosé at each establishment. This is about as rough-and-tumble as it gets for beverages, and the star in Poteo is rosé. So…there’s your proof: Real Men Drink Pink.