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Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana
This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© I’m talking about Rose´ wine, what it is and is not, and things to know when you approach this scintillating “pink” gem when you see it setting there on the shelf. It’s okay to pick this wine up and look at it, even if others are hovering in the wine isle. I say this tongue and cheek of course because it wasn’t so long ago, well at least if you’re my age, that “pink” wine was taboo if you were noted amongst your friends as a serious wine drinker. Well let me share with you that the French have been making beautiful Rose´ for centuries and this beautiful wine has come of age here in the United States and a few of my friends whose wines I’m featuring today have proven it. David Adelsheim, and Sean Minor produce phenomenal Rose wine that I absolutely love. Then there is a little local winery where I live in Missoula that produces a very nice Mourvedre´ rose´ that I enjoyed last week too.
Somehow I have sucked into a quest in search of great Rose´ wines. I must tell you that in tasting these wines that are visually beautiful in a wine glass there are many that I just do not like, but when I find one that I love I just can’t get enough of it so to speak. What I find so very interesting about these wines is that they are like a chameleon. They are light and refreshing like a white wine, crisp and acidic like a white wine, BUT once on the palate have subtle nuances of the red wines we love too. Wow, this is fun, interesting, and great to drink and share. I find myself on yet another wine journey that I’m excited to share with you.
The following back story excerpt is from a blog post I ran a year ago but wanted to share one more time as it provides an interesting background on the emergence and evolution of pink to blush, to Rose´ in America. An appropriate story for a Memorial Day weekend, a time when I hope we can all raise our glass in recognition of those from the past that have served and protected our country and those who currently are in harm’s way so that you and I can enjoy our glass of Rose´ today. Join me in a toast to say THANK YOU to our service men and women who keep us safe and free, Salute to all of you.
In the early 1970’s there was a huge shortage of white grapes for wine making purposes. Winemakers were using red grapes to make white wine. They were incorporating a wine making method called Saignee´ otherwise known as bleeding of the vats. As an analogy think about when you make gravy how the fat and the actual dripping from the meat separate. This also happens in the wine vat, there is a separation of the heavy red must or juice from the light. A winemaker will bleed the light juice out of the vat and in this case in the early 1970’s make a white wine.
In the mid 70’s winemaker Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home experienced what is known as a stuck fermentation whereas the yeast dies off before the sugar turns into alcohol in the process of fermentation. Bob wisely set the wine aside and came back to it in a couple of weeks and had what is now known as “White Zinfandel”, it was pink and it was sweet. This discovery made Bob more than a few bucks.
In 1976 a wine writer named Jerry Mead visited a winery, Mill Creek Vineyards, in Sonoma California. Charlie Kreck of Mill Creek Vineyards had been one of the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in California. Charlie offered Mead a glass of pale pink wine that had no name, but he was not about to call it a “White Cabernet” as it was deeper in color that white wines made from red grapes at the time. The wine was not as dark as the Rose´ wines from that time period. After drinking this pink wine Mead referred to it in a joking manner as “Cabernet Blush”. By night time Mead phoned Kreck and let him know in no uncertain terms that he was very serious about the name he had coined for this pink wine. In 1978 Kreck tradmarked the word “Blush” and it caught on as a name used by Sutter Home, and Beringer. It was a marketing name that became the “Top of Mind” reference for pink semi-sweet wine.
The term “Blush” Wine originally referred to a pale-pink wine it now is reserved for a sweet pink wine with a residual sugar of 2.5%. In America most dry pink wines are marketed and sold as a Rose´. In Europe all pink wine is referred to as “Rose´” regardless of residual sugar levels, even imports from America that are semi-sweet.
I mentioned earlier in this discussion one of the ways a Rose´ is made by the Saignee´ method, but there are still two more. One is the traditional method of winemaking by which the grapes are left with their skins, in this case just a few days. This method produces wines of a delicate color, pale-pink. The grapes only left for a few days with their skins do not express much in the way of tannin that is found in Red Wines. This wine as a result drinks just like a white wine as is as about food and cheese friendly as a wine can get.
The second method is accomplished by adding red wine to a white until the desired color is achieved. This method is generally not acceptable in most regions around the world, for a good reason it is just not the way to San Rose´. Sorry I couldn’t resist, just my poor sense of humor.
Rose´ typically is noted to be dry and delicate like the wonderful Anjou Rose from the Loire Valley in France. Rose´ trends now are to use bigger style Rhone Reds, Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan. One of the wines I’m sharing with you today is from Bordeaux and is made from 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and is a fantastic Rose´. Sales of Rose´ in France now are greater than White Wine. Winemakers from around the world are now producing Rose´ rather than leave their red wines sitting in barrels unsold. Thank goodness for that for those of us who really enjoy these exciting and delicious wines.
Great Rose´ for me is simply elegant, sophisticated, and refined. But here is what I need a wine to be, not over done and not under done. I love a wine that is allowed to be itself, left alone, and not over manipulated. This flight of Rosé that I’m recommending today is well balanced with fruit, acid, and the right percentages of alcohol. They are beautifully understated with nuances of strawberry and cherry and also express wonderful nuances that are particular to themselves. You will experience a perfect crispness and a mellow tartness in these wine that has are lovely and serve up a refreshing mouthfeel.
These wines are like a great movie or song you cannot get out of your head, they all deliver a desirable long lasting finish that leaves you absolutely longing for more. Try them, you’ll like them.
4Bears Winery from Sean Minor
This 4Bears Vin Gris is produced using the classic saignée method, allowing juice to remain in contact with the Pinot Noir skins for about 24 hours. The juice was then “bled” from the Pinot Noir tank prior to fermentation and set aside on its own in a separate tank. The resulting wine was then fermented dry developing its pink color, aromatics and bright fruit flavors.
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
This lovely Vin Gris from 4Bears winery is a bright and vibrant pink color with cherry, strawberry, cranberry and ripe watermelon aromas on the nose. When the wine first hits your palate it displays cherry and strawberry flavors with well recognized flavors of Pinot Noir. Raspberry and cranberry fruit characters are balanced with spicy and crisp acidity that linger creating a refreshing and lengthy finish.
2010 Adelsheim Willamette Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir
WineAppellation: Willamette Valley Alcohol: 13.7%
Composition: 100% Pinot noir RS: 0.2%
Co-owners Lynn and Jack Loacker broached the subject of producing a dry Rosé from Pinot Noir back in the spring of 2005. David Adelsheim and the winemakers welcomed the intellectual challenge of creating a wine that was neither white (crisp, clean and refreshing) nor red (round, full and savory). Their goal was to create a wine that had elements of both but was its own wine, and was recognizably “Oregon.”
The 2010 growing season began after a relatively dry and warm winter (one of the warmest on record). Bud’s on the vines came early as a result in 2010 only to be stalled by cold, rainy conditions, including the wettest June on record. A long, cool growing season ensued and then perfect weather arrived for four weeks at the end of the growing season. This allowed for long hang times to develop the complexity and physiological maturity of the fruit. The Pinot noir grapes for this wine were harvested between October 7th – 22nd. The Berries were small and concentrated, while yields remained low. The 2010 vintage is already being compared to the great 2008 and 1993 vintages in Oregon.
The fruit for this wine came from three vineyards in the Chehalem Mountains AVA of the northern Willamette Valley. A saignée winemaking technique was used to make this Rosé, in which a portion of juice was bled off from a Pinot noir fermenter 6 to 12 hours after being filled with grapes. A slow, cool fermentation in their temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks allows the retention of the primary fruit esters. 12% of the wine was fermented in older, neutral French oak barrels which enhances the textural richness of this wonderful Rose´. The wine was bottled on March 1, 2011
This delicious wine offers aromas of fresh strawberries, raspberries, peach, watermelon and a touch of baking spices. The aromas follow through on a rich, well textured palate that offers great intensity and persistence to the finish. Though a perfect summer beverage on its own, this Rosé will pair with all manner of that season’s meals, from bouillabaisse and grilled shrimp, to goat cheese, ham and poultry entrees.
Château Bonnet Rosé 2010
The 2010 Château Bonnet Rosé is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. This wine has a perfect alcohol level of 12.5%. Upon first glance this Rosé looks like a beautiful jewel in the glass, a shimmering gorgeous pink glass. This wine is elegant and beautiful to look at in the glass, more of a very light strawberry color.
On the nose the wine presents welcome aromas of white chocolate, ever so mild caramel, strawberry, and mellow cherry. Yes this wine’s aroma is as alluring as it is visually in a glass. Once this beauty hit my palate it danced in my mouth, I don’t want to say it came to life because this wine brought life to my palate. This Rosé is well balanced with fruit, acid, and the perfect percentage of alcohol. It is understated with nuances of strawberry and cherry, also expressing very mild pomegranate. You will experience a perfect crispness and a mellow tartness in this wine that has a lovely and refreshing mouthfeel.
Missoula Winery Rose´
This delightful example of Rose´ is available by the glass at the winery. It has been made from 100% Mourvedre´. This wine has very nice color and is also like the other Rose´’s that are visually appealing in the glass. On the nose it has great berry aroma and on the palate there is a lot going on with this wine. You will taste strawberry, cherry, grapefruit, spice, and mild lemon zest. This wine is dry and has a balanced mouthfeel. On the finish there is lingering citrus and berry, I enjoyed this wine by the glass. Missoula Winery offers the wine lover a great experience as they have music events to enjoy at least two evenings a week. The owners Phil and Frenchie are terrific hosts and if you taste wine with sales manager Kevin Van Dort he may even pull out his cigar box guitar and play some of the killer blues he is noted for as a musician. Yep, I had a great time at the Missoula Winery and I recommend you check it out too.
These wines in this flight receive The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©