Taste of Wine – Time to Smell the Rose’s

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There is no more elegant bottle of wine than a well crafted Rosé. I am always captivated by this hybrid wine that radiates pleasure, coolness and seduction.

Rosé of course is not a grape varietal, it’s a style of wine; the artistry of a winemaker turned artist. Colors range from a peachy to a salmon look.And it can mate up with a number of food pairings, especially in the summertime.

Sales have gone through the roof lately, with the largest Rosé wine country,Provence in the south of France, reporting a large increase in sales in the U.S. over the year before. Provence has over 600 Rosé producers, enough to make it the world capital of Rosé, where the wine is at once lively, dry, aromatic and fruity. To underline the importance of this wine to Provence, it is by and large the only wine produced in this district. In Provence, the red grapes used to make Rosé include: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cabernet, Caragnan and Tibouran. Winemakers in the U.S. and elsewhere are using every other red varietal including Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. In the appellation of La Londe, shown in the photo, the vineyards literally slide into the Mediterranean Sea.

Rose’ can be a difficult wine to make.Its delicate color and fresh aromas require skill and attention, as time is of the essence.The pigments that give the wine its color are locked in the skins of the grapes and are dependent on how long these skins are in contact with the juice, or in other words, color depends on the amount of time the skins “macerate.”Rosé’s are lighter and pink in tone because the grapes macerate for less time.And that’s’ just the beginning. It takes about a year of care and attention to produce a dry, light, aromatic rosé. The Provence people emphasize that when consuming their rosé, for the best tasting experience, drink it at 46 to 53 degrees. The chilliness excites the senses and brightens the flavor. Age is not a factor here.”Drink now,” as they say.The wines of Provence are fascinatingly detailed in the book “Provence Food and Wine, the Art of Living” by Francois Millo and Viktorija Todorovska.

The actor Brad Pitt and actress Angelina Jolie have acquired a Provence estate and are making Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé 2012.

In checking on the local San Diego Rose’ scene, I visited Jim and Bill Tobin and their North County Wine Company in San Marcos. The Tobins have seen a noticeable uptick in sales, especially in the $8 to $17 range and it’s been year-round, not just confined to summer tasting. Most buyers go for the Provence dry style Rosé’s. They carry close to a dozen brands, and most buyers are younger women.An impressive Rose’ on the shelves this week is the Bella Vista Franciacorta Rose 2008, a vintage Italian sparkling wine with the taste of apples, rose petals and sweet almonds.

The international wine brand Freixenet has released a Spanish style Rosé called Mi’a by Barcelona winemaker Gloria Collell. Visit www.freixenetusa.com

The California State Fair has come and gone and from it, the “Best of Show Pink” was a 2013 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel from Pedroncelli Winery of Sonoma.($12.) This one racked up 98 points and a double gold medal along with Best of Class of Region.

Pedroncelli wine maker John Pedroncelli has been making this wine since the early 1950’s. The appellation is the Dry Creek District, with well-drained rocky soils and hillsides.

Rose’s in California have come a long way since the sweet “White Zinfandel” jug wine days.The best are now exhibiting fruit-forward characteristics and crisp acidity. ..and that oh so sensual pink rose look.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.View and link up with his column at www.tasteofwinetv.com. Reach him at mangiompc@aol.com.