[blockquote]Ben at Calvert Woodley graciously agreed to educate us about wine. This is his first monthly column for the Connection. He has convinced me not to write off rosés. What about you? – Marlene Berlin[/blockquote]
by Ben Giliberti
Director of Wine Education, Calvert Woodley Fine Wine & Spirits
With warmer spring and summer weather on its way, it’s time to think about stocking up on fresh and lively rosé wines. A well-chosen rosé can provide a splendid alternative to fuller-bodied whites and reds. Rosés come from all over the world, from the heady, powerful style of Provence and Bandol, located on France’s Mediterranean coast, to lighter, fruitier types from Spain, California and elsewhere. While the styles may differ, they share a captivating rosy shade, ranging all the way from pale salmon to hot pink.
Many of the most popular rosés today are dry, which seems to go against the popular perception that rosés are sweet and easy confections. This misunderstanding came about because of the huge popularity of white Zinfandel and other so-called “blush” wines, which were intentionally made with a big dollop of sugar on the finish to appeal to a popular audience. Such blush wines are fine if you like them, but dry rosés have been leading the way over the last few years.
Rosés are produced by two basic methods. In the saignée method, red grapes are crushed and the juice is allowed to sit in contact with the skins, which contain the color,for several hours or even days before fermentation. The juice has just enough time to pick up some red pigment from the few hours of skin contact, but not nearly enough to make it a red wine The other method of is similar to something you may have done by accident at home. A small amount of red wine is blended into a white wine — voilà, rosé. While often derided, some excellent rosés are made by this method, including most of the greatest and most expensive rosé Champagnes.
Regardless of how it’s vinified, a well-made dry rosé is among the world’s most food-compatible wines. As one might imagine, it’s a perfect match for dishes like poached salmon, veal loin, and even lobster, where a red wine might prove too heavy, but a white wine might not have enough body. They are also great with light appetizers, cheeses and crudités.
Here is a list of excellent rosés available at Calvert Woodley, with approximate prices:
2012 Alexander Valley Vineyards – Dry Rosé of Sangiovese Alexander Valley ($14)
2011 Bodegas Muga – Rioja Rosado ($13)
2012 Boxwood Estate Winery – Rosé Virginia ($16)
2011 Château Clos Bourbon – Rosé de Bourbon Bordeaux ($9)
2012 Château d’Esclans – Rosé Whispering Angel Côtes de Provence ($19)
2011 Domaine Des Nouelles – Rosé d’Anjou Loire ($10)
2011 Domaine Guillaman – Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne Rosé ($10)
2012 Jean Reverdy – Sancerre Rosé Les Villots ($23)
2012 Mulderbosch – Rose of Cabernet Stellenbosch ($11)