Everything’s Coming Up Rosé…a Wine-Drinker’s Guide

rose1Now that summer weather is upon us, it’s a perfect time to explore lighter libations. Enter rosé wine. No, I’m not talking about white zinfandel, which is an overly sweet product of 1970s California.  I’m talking about real wine, made from red grapes, using ancient techniques.   What separates rosé wine from the more familiar red wines made with the same grape varietals is the amount of time the nearly colorless grape juice spends in contact with the grape skins. After crushing the grapes, a winemaker puts the must (juice, pulp, seeds, and skin) in a vat for as short as a few hours (for the lightest rosés) up to several days (for deep, tannic reds). The longer the juice is in contact with the grape skins, the more color, tannin, and structure develop.  As a result of this process, good rosé wine develops more character than you’d associate with lighter white wines, but it remains easy to drink and refreshing.  Perfect for a mama looking for a little splash on a hot summer evening. Rosé doesn’t contain the tannins that justify aging.  It’s a style meant to be drunk young.  The production characteristics keep the price point low (often under $10), so you can afford to experiment.  If you explore the racks on your own, let the phrase “dry” be your beacon star.  Don’t dance on the head of the correct-serving-temperature pin.  Just pull the bottle out of the refrigerator 10-15 minutes before you plan to drink it.  If you’re sitting outside in the San Antonio summer, use an ice bucket.  Your serving will go from ice cold and refreshing to a temperature that showcases the structure and fruit in no time at all. If you’d like a bit more guidance, here are five specific suggestions.  All bottles featured here are readily available. Prices are from Total Wines on 410, across from North Star Mall on June 6, 2014. Cheers, girls![hr]


France: Dom Fontanyl Rosé de Provence (2012) ($14.99)

This.  This is the essence of rosé. You will smell ripe berries and dark flowers on the nose.  The taste is dry and straightforward, but you’ll pick up ripe strawberry and cherry. This is the kind of wine that makes you want to slip on your espadrilles, light a lavender candle, and fool your senses into thinking you’re on a patio overlooking the Luberon.  [hr]Eguren

Spain: Eguren Tierra Castilla Rosé ($6.99)

French rosé typically is made from Pinot Noir and Gamay grapes. Eguren Tierra Castilla is Spanish and is 100 percent Tempranillo, which produces lighter-bodied wines with a cherry (as opposed to berry) taste. Victorino Eguren dug out more than two kilometers of tunnels and caverns under the Eguren Ugarte winery. Eguren wines–including customers’ bottles–are stored in these cellers. The 2012 rosé is a bright red color in the glass and has an intense cherry aroma and taste. [hr]  Maipe

Argentina:  Maipe Malbec Rosé ($11.99)

This wine is made with 100 percent Malbec grapes. It is a bright pink color in the glass, with a fresh, red-fruit bouquet. Look for strawberry, raspberry, and cherry flavors.  The wine is crisp, with a balanced acidity dry finish. [hr]

Truett HurstSonoma: Truett Hurst Zin Rosé ($18.99)

I’ve heard of avowed beer drinkers (who eschew wine) finally “getting” the grape’s appeal upon trying a glass of Truett Hurst Rose. Admittedly, the circumstances (day drinking with friends in the garden of the Truett Hurst estate) may have helped, but the fact remains:  this wine invites converts. It’s crisp and refreshing, and neither too dry nor too sweet.  It’s not at all tannic, so it doesn’t make your mouth feel dry in that way that can be off-putting to wine novices. [hr]

BubblesThe Bubbles: Louis Bouillot Rosé ($18.99)

Like many French rosés, Louis Buillot’s is made from Pinot Noir grapes.  Although it hails from Burgundy, it’s made using the Champagne method, which means it has the effervescence we associate with that region. The wine is pale rose in color and has a medium body with fine bubbles.  You’ll taste cherry and strawberry and notice a dry, creamy finish.[hr]

Katy is a San Antonio native who spent seven years on the East Coast. She is back home now, married to her match.com sweetheart, rearing her children Claudia (5) and Thomas (3), and practicing tax law.


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