If you are so politically correct, why are you so prejudiced against Rosé? Just because a bunch of guys in California got rich selling “Blush Wines” that taste like semi-sweet watermelon juice doesn’t mean that you should dismiss a whole category of World Class Wine without even tasting them. Bone Dry, crisp, full-flavored Rosés are often the ultimate solution to our Northwest-Franco-Japa-Mediterra-Mex-Italian cuisine; not to mention these wines can (and should) be enjoyed all year round.
The Skinny: Rosé wines are crafted by taking red grapes and crushing them but then removing the skins after one to three days depending on the color desired. Rosés are almost never aged in oak but rather in stainless steel to ensure freshness. Most importantly, the belief that Rosé wines need to be consumed within the first year is almost blasphemy. In fact, most Rosé wines really come into their own in their second year.
The Classics: Almost every region that makes wine makes a Rosé, but some of the more popular and easiest to obtain in the states are from southern France and Spain. Arguably, the best non-sparkling Rosé are made in two French villages; Tavel in the southern Rhone Valley and Bandol on the Mediterranean coast. Rosés from Tavel are produced from the Grenache grape and are darker and bolder than the Mourvedre-based Rosé from Bandol and both being the best, are priced at a premium.
The savvy buyer might seek out Rosé from the Cotes du Rhone (which encompasses Tavel or Rosé bearing the appellation Cotes du Provence in which Bandol lies) offers the same great flavors at a fraction of the cost. Spain produces some of the best valued Rosé in the world and the ones from the Navarra region made from the Garnacha (Grenache) rank among their best. As an added bonus, they are a great base for Sangria.
Offering the same flavors as their Red counterparts but with the benefit of being served ice cold for the hot days of summer Rosés just rock!
Experiment with Rosés from other regions and remember: many of these wines can stand up to just about everything from planked Salmon to a grilled Ribeye to Pok Pok’s Ike’s Chicken Wings… You get the idea…
Dr. Vino (Rory Olson) is the proprietor of Portland Wine Merchant located at 1430 SE 35th just off Hawthorne Blvd.