In honor of International Rosé Day this Friday, we're thrilled to feature a guest blog post with local wine expert, Susan Manfull PhD of The Provence WineZine!
Of course, we can drink pink wine year-round (I do), and on white linen table cloths with crystal and silverware (I do), but there's nothing that begs for chilled rosé as much as a hot summer day...at the beach, the pool, or eating outdoors.
Popular as it is, how much do you really know about this wine? See how many of these true-false statements you get correct:
1. Rosé is composed of at least 50% of a grape variety called rosé.
2. Rosé is usually quite pale in color, but it can be light red, too.
3. In France, rosé is more popular than white wine.
4. Rosé is typically made by combining red and white wine.
5. Rosé gets its color primarily from its pulp.
6. The majority of rosé comes from Provence.
7. Per capita consumption of rosé is highest in France, followed by Uruguay.
8. Hemingway was a huge fan of rosé from Tavel.
How did you do? Check your answers below. Not to worry if you are not a Rosé Master yet; you've got all summer to learn more about summer's favorite wine!
On the Seacoast right now, there is an abundance and wide variety of good rosé from many countries. "The best way to learn more is to carry a corkscrew and use it often", as Alexis Lichine (whose son Sacha makes the very popular Whispering Angel) famously said.
There will be two more short posts like this one (in July and August), including eight true-false questions, to test your pink wine knowledge. In the meantime, here are three recommendations for rosés available on the Seacoast:
Château Barbebelle Cuvée Madeleine (2017) This lovely pale pink Provence rosé bespeaks elegance, beginning with its citrus and red fruit nose with faint floral notes and carrying through to its creamy, red fruit palate and lingering finish. A very nice minerality graces the palate and the finish as well. Nice on its own or with Niçoise salad, charcuterie, goat cheese, ceviche, and white fish (Available at South Street and Vine and some New Hampshire State Liquor Stores, about $20).
Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare (2016) Rosé is the flagship rosé of the Central coast California winery owned by the incomparable Randall Grahm. Practicing sustainable agriculture, minimal intervention in the cellar, and listing the ingredients on the label, Grahm has long been ahead of the curve in winemaking. (Note the low sulfite level.) This salmon-colored rosé is a blend of about half Grenache, one fifth Granche blanc, a little each of Mourvèdre and Carignane, and a dash each of Cinsault, and Roussane, resulting in a pleasant nose of strawberry and red currant macerated with vanilla and spices that carries through to the finish, adding a little watermelon along the way. For my palate, it’s a little heavy on the fruit but opening the bottle 20 minutes before serving—and decanting if convenient—integrates the fruit, making the wine more appealing to me. Serve with a charcuterie and something barbequed--ribs and beef come to mind—for a real treat! (Available at some New Hampshire State Liquor Stores, where it typically goes for around $19 but the 2016 vintage is currently on sale for $9.99)
Domaine de l’ Olivette (2017) Rosé, made from Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault grape varieties grown in the illustrious appellation of Bandol in Provence, is a well-kept secret. It is the entry level wine of a very well-regarded property. Pale pink, refreshing, reminiscent of red berries and a little white grapefruit, this a perfect summer rosé for a light meal—think salads, especially—or on its own. Sustainable farming. (Available at Golden Harvest in Kittery, Maine for around $18.00).
Friday, June 22 is International Rosé Day! Raise a glass in celebration of this humble wine at 7:00 p.m. French time. By the way, drop by South Street and Vine in Portsmouth around 1:00 on International Rosé Day, as they will be toasting to Rosé around 1:00 Eastern Time (7:00 French time).
So, how did you do with the quiz??
1. FALSE. There is no grape variety called "rosé." Rosé is typically made from all red varieties, although in many regions, white grape varieties may be included as well.
2. TRUE. Rosés can be very pale with barely a detectable color, as well as a deep ruby color with every shade in between, including straw, salmon, and coral. The Rosé Research Center has identified as many as 139 shades.
3. TRUE. Since 1994, the consumption of rosé in France has been greater than that of white wine.
4. FALSE. In France, where the majority of the world’s rosé is produced, mixing red and white wine to produce rosé is strictly forbidden (except in Champagne production). This is also the case in the other European Union countries but, in some New World countries, it is permissible to make rosé in this manner.
5. FALSE. Skin contact -- the length of time the juice remains in contact with the grape skins -- is the primary determinant of rosé's color. For you wine geeks, it is the amount of the anthocyanins (one of the phenolic compounds) that are mainly responsible for a wine's color. In making rosé, generally, the longer the skins and juice are in contact, the darker the color.
6. TRUE. France is the world's leading producer of rosé, and Provence produces the majority -- upwards of 40% -- of French Appellation d' Origine Protégée (AOP) rosés.
7. TRUE. France has the highest per capita consumption of rosé; in 2015, that was 15.6 liters per person over 15 years old. Uruguay comes in second, with about 12.4 liters per person over 15 years old. As a country, France accounts for approximately one third of global rosé consumption, while the United States, in second place, accounts for about 15% of rosé consumption.
8. TRUE. Hemingway was big fan of rosé from Tavel, demanding it over other wines for lunch.
Thank you for sharing your expertise with us Susan!