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The Cliff House BlogIts Not White Zinfandel


Its Not White Zinfandel

01 Aug, 2014

For the month of May let&rsquo,s talk rosé,. As the title implies there are some misconceptions regarding this under appreciated and often maligned style of wine. Let&rsquo,s start here , Rose, is not necessarily sweet. In fact' the most highly acclaimed Rose,s in the world are bone dry examples of incredibly versatile and highly expressive wines.
In keeping with the burgeoning warmth of spring' many wines we choose will be light and refreshing better served with a game of volleyball than a seven course meal. That stated sometimes we actually are serving seven courses and with a touch of guidance and a bit of knowledge our springtime wine choices go from good to appropriate' to sublime.


One of the hallmarks of rosé, wine is versatility. With a wide spectrum of flavor' aroma and weight rosé,s can accompany anything from the lightest seafood dish to all but the most robustly prepared red meats. Rosé,s&rsquo, other major attribute to my mind is its refreshing unobtrusive nature. Uniquely able to complement most occasions this style of wine begs less meditation upon the glass' and more upon the moment.

The Process

Rosé, wine is generally created through one of three processes - skin contact' Saigné,e or blending. Skin contact is simply allowing red grape skins prolonged exposure to the must or grape juice allowing for more extract and color. Saigné,e (French for bleeding) is a process by which some juice is pulled from a red wine early on with the intention of concentrating the red. The juice that is removed from the red wine can then be vinified into a Saigné,e style of rosé,. Finally there is blending wherein a red wine is mixed with a white wine to create the desired body' color and complexity in the finished product.

The Rose, Specialists

Perhaps the most celebrated' and certainly the only major region in the world specializing in rosé, wine is Provence in Southern France. Made from various red grapes (Grenache Syrah Mourvedre Cinsaut and more) Provence is deservedly acclaimed for their production of pale pink rosé,s. Showcasing fresh (and some times exotic) fruit flavors with floral and spicy notes Provence is a go-to region for interesting' summertime wines. Look for Cô,tes de Provence or Aix-en-Provence on the label for some of the very best examples.
Spain' in particular North Central Spain is also well known for its Rosado wines. Often made from Garnacha (although other grapes including the popular Tempranillo play a role) the rosé,s of Spain tend towards darker color and more body' even as they maintain the refreshing profile we search for. Rioja is a good place to start when trying Spanish Rosados for the first time.
Having only scratched the surface' allow me to present a few more names to remember: Anjou from the Loire Valley France, Bandol from Provence France, Tavel from the Rhone Valley France, Rosatos from Northern Piedmont to Southern Sicily Italy, certainly the great rosé, sparkling wines of Champagne France, and of course' try the many and varied domestic offerings available.

The Sublime Summer Wine

With a wide range of options styles and flavors rosé, wine can complement most any occasion. Ranging from sweet to bone dry from light to nearly full-bodied and from simple to compelling rosé, wine offers intriguing food pairing options while refreshing the palate and spirit in the summer time. And although it is a little difficult for me to say yes &ndash, even White Zinfandel has its place. Enjoy your summer!