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For refreshment, rose wine is go-to

For refreshment, rose wine is go-to

If you’re a regular reader of Uncorked, you know of my love for the magnificent rose. And perhaps it is because I frequently profess my feelings that many have questioned my love of rose, wanting to know why I love dry rose so much. I generally will answer much like many of my past columns on the subject: It tastes great, is a versatile wine and matches well with almost all foods. But this past week when asked, I had a slow pause before answering and simply replied: because I live in the South and it’s hot.

A refreshing glass of chilled rose wine with its array of vibrant flavors is the perfect answer to what wine to drink on a hot day. In the past there were generally only a few styles on most retail store shelves (mostly very sweet styles), but today a whole range of rose is available in local shops with some stores having entire sections devoted to rose wines.

As with any style of wine there are different types based on the grape variety used in production. Rose wines range in color from light pink to a deep salmon. But based on the grape used for production, the styles can have many different tastes, some similar and others distinctly different.

MALBEC

Malbec red wine is growing in popularity as more consumers become familiar with it. The same can be said of malbec rose. When creating a rose wine the winemaker will let the juice soak on the skins of the red grapes for a very short time. The malbec grape is known for its juicy powerful skin and the rose styles reflect this with a fuller body and with tannic structure more so than other roses. A malbec rose is a crowd-pleaser, easy to drink and pairs with most proteins traditionally only thought to match with red wines.

THE VALUE

  • 2014 Domaine Bousquet, Argentina (about $9 retail)

THE SPLURGE

  • 2014 Calcu Rose, Chile (about $15 retail)

PINOT NOIR

Pinot Noir is a finicky grape to grow; it is very sensitive to a region’s climate, soil and overall location. But this finickiness is also why we love the unique qualities of pinot noir with its elegant and powerful flavors when produced as a red wine. When a winemaker chooses to turn the grape into a rose, it showcases the same unique qualities and divine tastes. The flavors of this rose are usually cherry, raspberry, spice and bright berries.

THE VALUE

  • 2014 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Rose, Oregon (about $17 retail)

THE SPLURGE

  • 2014 Calera Pinot Noir Rose, California (about $25 retail)

GRENACHE

Grenache, also known as Garnacha in Spain, is ideal for producing rose wines because of its low tannin and acidity. It almost always shows flavors of strawberry, raspberry, watermelon and sometimes lemonade.

THE VALUE

  • 2014 Penya Rose, France (about $12 retail)

THE SPLURGE

  • 2014 Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel, France (about $24 retail)
Grenache shines solo and plays well with others

Grenache shines solo and plays well with others

Grenache (also known as garnacha) is often seen as an underdog. A grape that simply ends up in a great blend. We tend to overlook that it is a stand-alone varietal, even though it’s one of the most planted of wine grapes in the world.

It’s big, bold and aggressive, but also lovable, friendly and approachable.

Originally from Spain, this grape is widely grown in the southern Rhone region. It spread into France as the kingdom of Aragon expanded its borders. For many years this grape was only used as a blending partner, adding to the finesse of some of the greatest wines of the world. Most Chateauneuf-du-Pape and other Rhone wines are made from a blend using this grape. The average Chateauneuf contains about 10 percent syrah but 65 percent grenache. Today grenache are grown in Spain, Italy, France, California and Australia.

Continuing my promotion of rosé, it is worth noting that some of the best wine made of grenache is rosé. The Saignee Method is an old technique that transforms the grape from a full-bodied red wine to a rosé wine. Saignee is a French term meaning “bled,” referring to the process of running off or “bleeding” a certain amount of free-run juice (juice from freshly picked grapes that is released during the stemming process) using crushed dark-skinned grapes, after a short pre-fermentation maceration. The aim is primarily to produce a lightly pink wine with more flavor compounds.

THE VALUE

  • 2013 Yellow Tail Grenache, Australia (about $8 retail)

THE SPLURGE

  • 2013 D’Arenberg Custodian Grenache, Australia (about $20 retail)