Rosé wines should be the “official” casual warm weather wines. Crisp, aromatic, lively and flavorful, a cool glass of rosé goes with almost any of the foods we love to eat in summer: salads, sandwiches, cold cuts, a cold roasted chicken, fish, shrimp. It’s the wine to take along on a picnic, and the wine that can make any meal eaten with it seem like it is a picnic!
Rosé wines are made in several ways. Usually, red grapes are pressed and their skins, which contain the pigment that gives the wine color, is allowed to soak in the juice before fermentation begins. This had the added benefit of allowing some tannins (found in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes) to also be absorbed into the juice. Tannins, natural preservatives, help to give wines balance, and prevent oxidation.
Because red wines are made by fermenting the juice of the grapes along with the skins, they are higher in tannins than white wines, and are better matches with red meats. Rosé wines, having more tannins than white wines, will compliment lighter meats, or even cold roast beef.
Some Rosés are made by adding a bit of red wine to white. (Most of the rosé Champagne on the market is made this way.)
So, what about “blush wines”, like White Zinfandel? In spite of what the marketing departments say, these are rosé wines, made from the Zinfandel grape, a red varietal. It’s just a simpler tasting, sweeter version of the red.
White Merlot, White Syrah, French rosés, as well as, White Zinfandel all make great summer fare. Think late nights, under the stars, great friends, good talk, a nice, chilled rosé, this is what summer should be all about.