The Wine Guy Eddie McDougall: Rosé revival
The rosé empire strikes back! This revival comes with much thanks to the next generation of winemakers who are crafting drier styles of the beverage set to change consumers’ attitudes towards this old-school, sickly sweet, pink alcoholic juice.
Historically, the production of rosé is the result of a well-known vintner’s trick called saignée, which means ‘bleeding’ in French. Occurring at the early stages of red wine production, the application of the saignée method extracts a predetermined percentage of the juice from the de-stemmed and crushed grape must (the freshly pressed juice that contains the seeds and skin). There are two reasons behind this method: one, to intensify the flavours in the red wine and two, to make rosé. Though there is no set formula as to how much juice a vintner decides to bleed, the general consensus amongst my fellow winemaker buddies is to extract 10 to 30 percent from the must. The result of this extraction is a seductive, pink blush liquid, which on its own, is already worthy of bottling.
The steps that then flow through from juice to bottle follow the routine steps of white and sparkling wine production. And while most premium rosés are made by the method of saignée, some cheaper and lower quality styles will blend a small percentage of red wine into a white. Perhaps this is something you can try at home for a quick
But why should you care about rosé at all? Well, firstly, it’s comparatively cheap compared to other sorts of wines. Secondly, it’s a versatile drink that pairs well with most foods. Not to mention, drinking rosé will make you a very, very happy person. This last point is especially true since modern day rosés are becoming more diverse in style and in flavour. Trendsetters are leading the way by opting for wines which show a little fizz in the glass. In particular, producers from Champagne, Australia and Spain are delivering some truly excellent examples of sparkling rosé wines. Having said that, though, I still believe the traditional dry and still formats will make the biggest noise this summer. They taste awesome and they’re massive crowd pleasers. Outdoor soirées, alfresco dining, boat trips and sweaty wet market eateries are the perfect places to slug down a few glasses.
If you want to learn more about the bev, then you should check out all the parties out there fighting for the revival. The most innovative and active one on the scene is the Rosé Revolution (www.rosewinerevolution.com) based in Australia. The movement was started by De Bortoli Wines and has now engaged thousands of like-minded lovers of this luscious and very cool wine. This is just the tip of the iceberg and proof that this drink is taking off like you would not believe.
2008 Raventos i Blanc ‘de Nit’, Cava Rosé, Spain
A fizzy force to be reckoned with.
2010 Vynfields Pinot Rosé, New Zealand
This is 100 percent organic love.
Mateus Rosé, Portugal
A great option for a cheap date.