THE PINK STUFF,
WHAT IS ROSÉ?
Until recently, rosé was generally known as a sweet pink wine, a “blush” typically coming out of jug bottles (aka mass produced garbage water). The most common was (is) white zinfandel, or as my grandma called it when she ordered it at every dinner out, “white zinzfadel.”
Drinkers have become much more savvy to this delectable juice—and, while “rosé all day” is an essential summer pastime—this style of wine is serious, and should be respected as such.
Literally every wine region in the world makes rosé. Most sommeliers regard the south of France as rosé’s homeland. When I think of rosé, I think of Provence, bouillabaisse, salty lips and crispy pink wine to quench my thirst. Bandol, a small fishing village in Provence, is internationally known for its famed roses. The muse (grape) here is Mourvèdre, and Domaine Tempier is the master. Tempier’s rosés are fresh, vibrant, and reminiscent of strawberry juice. Every sip transports me to the seashore.
There is even an appellation in the southern Rhône valley of France where rosé production is the only one permitted: Tavel. Located right across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache is the main grape. The rosés from here can be tannic and powerful—and boast alcohol levels of around 14%!
In the same way every wine region can produce a rosé, any red grape can be made into a rosé. There are a few different methods of producing rosé. Rosé incorporates the color of the grapeskin into the juice, but not enough to be classified as a red. You will see rosés in all shades of pink—from pale salmon to light coral, bright fuschia and dark magenta pink. The three major ways to produce rosé wine are skin contact, saignée and blending.
SKIN CONTACT, is when the juice is macerated with the grape skins—the longer the maceration, the darker the wine.
SAIGNÉE, aka to bleed, is when a winemaker is making a red wine, and removes a portion of the juice to stay a rosé. This process also intensifies the body of the resulting red.
BLENDING, is simply mixing white and red wine together (not respectable and illegal in France!, Except in Champagne.)
BROC CELLARS, CALIFORNIA
( skin contact ) Basically any and all of their rosés!
Broc Cellars is located in Berkeley, CA, and is my absolute go-to for New California wines. They have made a dry rose of Zinfandel in the past. Another stunner is their Lagrein rosé. Lagrein is a grape that hails from northern Italy and in this application, tastes like savory herbs and yellow squash. It is a fantastic early fall rosé, when the days are still warm but you need a sweatshirt at night. Broc Cellars’ Love Rosé is available year-round and should be a staple in your cellar.
RAILSBACK FRERES”LES RASCASSES” SANTA YNEZ, CALIFORNIA
( skin contact )
A newcomer to the scene, Railsback Freres is a new world wine with Provencal sensibility. Rescasses is the name of the fish that Lulu Peyraud of Domaine Tempier suggests as the best for bouillabaisse. Generous strawberry and a dry finish. A true homage to one of the greatest Rosés is the world, but from the new kids in Cali. Drink up!
40 OUNCE, LOIRE FRANCE
( skin contact )
Yep, it comes in a 40-ounce malt liquor bottle, with a twist-off cap. It’s cheap and delicious AF. This wine is made in the Loire Valley from one of our favorite winemakers, Julien Braud.
SONO MONTENIDOLI, CANAIUOLO, TUSCANY ITALY
( saignée )
Coming from the gorgeous hills of San Gimignano in central Tuscany, this rosé—made from the secondary blending grape in most Chianti—is an elegant and delicate rosé. It pairs well with anything. Tomatoes and mozzarella, anchovies in olive oil, or just on its own. The proprietor Elisabetta has a foundation helping young, underprivileged children, so every purchase goes to a good cause.
These producers are just scratching the surface on rosé. Want more information? Just contact the Cru! We’re always ready to geek out about small producers or chat big picture wine tips.
See you next Sunday.
the Cru - Lindsay Furia
Sommelier - Boca Restaurant Group