By Kimberly Fisher
Do Pink wines stay in fashion all year long? Absolutely! The Pink I am speaking of takes on many different styles; flavors can be sweet or dry, still or sparkling. The color pink takes on many different names depending on how it is made and can be made with a wide array of grapes across the world. Not only is this wine trendy across the globe, it is an excellent food wine.
Rose, is also known as Rosado in Portugal and Spain and Italy calls it Rosato. It is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may be one of the oldest known types of wine and the colors can range from pale pink to a darker form of pink depending on how it is made.
There are three major techniques to produce this type of wine; Skin Contact, Saignee and Blending.
What made Pink wines so popular in the United States? When we think of Rose, one person might come to mind and it was actually an accident that proved to the start of something great. Bob Trinchero of Trinchero Family Estates in California came across the discovery in 1972. He drew off free run juice from Red Zinfandel grapes and fermented it as white wine and it actually came out pink due to the short exposure to the red skins. The people enjoyed it so much, that he continues to produce it today. It was White Zinfandel that put Pink on the map.
In 1994 Wine Spectator Magazine awarded Trinchero a distinguished service award for having introduced more Americans to wine at the table than anyone in history. We might say he was the first to get people interested in this type of wine and today, it takes on many forms. White Zinfandel is a slightly sweet wine made from the red skinned Zinfandel grapes and gets its color from the grape skins after they are crushed and quickly removed from the juice.
Another term for Pink is Blush, which originated when Jerry Mead visited a Sonoma County winery and sampled pinkish wine made out of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The wine was going to be called White Cabernet, but called the wine “Blush” instead. We now see many forms of Blush wines in this category including, White Merlot, Cabernet Blanc and White Zinfandel. Classic examples of these types of styles can be found from Sutter Home Winery out of California.
If a winemaker wants to impart more tannin and color to their pink wine, the juice can be removed at an early stage in what we call the Saignee form which means French bleeding. Many French Champagne houses use this technique and Moet Imperial Rose is one such classic example of this method.
Many of the earliest red wines produced were rose style wines coming from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. The most prominent growing areas include Provence and the Southern Rhone Valley in France where Rose’s love Mediterranean climates. Jean Luc Colombo Rose is one Provence example produced from Syrah and Mourvedre grapes.
Don’t believe Pink is not worthy of drinking now that summer is gone? Pink wine is in fashion all year round. With so many choices, grapes and styles to choose from, it is worth exploring. Open your heart to Rose’s and see how diverse a wine it can be.
Kimberly Fisher is Director of Fine Wine sales for Badger Liquor – Wine & Spirits