If you’ve seen our rosé hutch at the Wine Center, you know that the wine comes in a broad variety of pinkish-hues: from a light coppery tint to a brilliant ruby-red, with all sorts of colors in-between.
How does a rosé get its color? It might come as a surprise, but only a few wine grapes on the planet actually have red juice when pressed: Cabernet, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel – all begin their journey into wine as clear juice. The red wines that come from these grapes pick up color from extended contact with the grape skins; generally speaking, the longer the exposure, the darker the color (depending upon the grape and a variety of natural chemical processes which occur.) One of the primary ways of making rosé utilizes relatively minimal grape skin contact with the juice to create a wine of a desired color. This process retains many of the characteristics of its mother grape but to a lesser (and more quaffable) extent than a wine than those destined to become red.
Rosé is one of the more ancient styles of wine and has been made throughout the world’s greatest wine-growing areas; however, it didn’t really take hold in the United States until the 1980s, several years after Sutter Home Winery debuted its first commercial release of White Zinfandel. The White Zin craze would last throughout the 1980’s and beyond: as its popularity grew, so did its sugar and also its production, with the net result being the generalization that all rosé was pink sugar-water. It took another twenty years or so to dispel the notion that rosé was in some way inferior to its more robustly-tinted siblings.
Fortunately, the time-honored tradition of rosé production continued, both in this country and abroad, and today we have a vast selection of wines to choose from and in styles to please an equally broad range of preference. While there is a lot more to the subject than I’ve touched upon here, the bottom line is that there is a pink wine for everyone!
While I like to drink rosé year-round, I really like to drink rosé during the summer! A wine I have found myself buying repeatedly since it first hit the shelves last year is the easy drinking, highly refreshing, Yes Way Rosé. Yes Way is produced in southern France, in a juicy style, which hit me with aromas of strawberry, raspberry, and peach with the strawberry and peach continuing on the palate. It’s an enjoyable wine, and as the name would imply, it’s made more for fun than contemplation. There is a time and place for every wine: Yes Way’s time is now, and the place is wherever you like to hang out and relax. Serve it well-chilled: a bottle in an ice bucket, close at hand, is the way to go. Keep another in the fridge for backup, as Yes Way Rosé turns to “no way is this rosé already gone” more quickly than you might expect!
More musings on rosé coming soon!
– Scott Gargus (tasted 7/5/20)