Wine Knowledge

April 26, 2013

Drink Pink!

Robert Sox
April 26, 2013

You know all about Fifty Shades of Grey.  How about Fifty Shades of Pink?  I’m talking wine here so if you’re looking for whips and chains, keep moving along.  Just like with white and red wines, there is a wide range of color hues when you’re talking pink wine, from a barely tinted light salmon to rich, cherry red.  But beyond the color distinctions is a more fundamental difference in taste which can be lumped into two broad styles – sweet vs. dry.  Fans of one style generally aren’t fans of the other and this is an area where wine snobbery can launch into high gear.  There is no denying the mass popularity of the sweet version – white zinfandel being the best known.  White zinfandel has been a huge category in wine sales for a long time, but the dry style of pink wine, rose’, has been around longer…a lot longer.  Dry rose’ wines have been produced since the earliest days of winemaking while sweet pink wines (blush) as we know them today first came into being in the 1970’s.  Sales of sweet blush wines grew exponentially through the 1990’s and are still strong.  It’s easy to dismiss a light, simple sweet wine but it’s what a lot of people like to drink, so what’s the harm?  The only downside is that too many people pass on the opportunity to try the original dry rose’ style, mostly because they don’t know there is a dry style.  If I include a rose’ on a wine tasting lineup, some people just skip over it, thinking it is going to be sweet.  If I twist their arm enough to get them to try it, there is always a surprised look, silently admitting that I wasn’t lying after all about it not being sweet.   

Discovering dry rose’ opens up a whole new category of wine.  It is lighter bodied than red, usually somewhat crisp and should be consumed chilled, about like white wines, around 50-55 degrees.  Your regular household refrigerator is usually set for something less than 40 degrees so a white or rose’ wine straight out of the refrigerator is really too cold.  Too cold means the flavors basically disappear.  Side note:  if you have to serve a bad wine to guests, serve it really cold.  They won’t know how bad it really is.  To get the most enjoyment out of a refrigerated wine, take it out 20 minutes before you’re going to serve it and let the flavors reappear as the bottle warms up.  If you have a wine refrigerator with dual temperature controls you can set one zone for whites/rose’ and one for reds (60-65 degrees) and they will be at the perfect serving temperature anytime you are ready to open a bottle.

Traditionally styled rose’ is usually considered a hot weather wine and does pair well with the kind of foods you eat when the weather warms up – salads, grilled fish and vegetables.  French winemakers are the most famous producers but others can do the same anywhere red skinned grapes are available.  Check out these for starters, all less than $20.  Tasting notes provided by producer:

  • Adelsheim Rose’ – Willamette Valley, Oregon.  The aromas of fresh strawberries and citrus blossom follow through on a zesty, well-textured palate that offers great intensity and persistence.  One-hundred percent Pinot Noir and one-hundred percent delicious!
  • Atmosphere Rose’ – Provence, France.  A blend of fruity Cinsault, peppery Syrah, soft texture and body from Grenache, and strength from Cabernet.  This produces a typical rose’ from Provence with recognizable mild spiciness and soft, juicy fruits like peaches and raspberries.
  • Crios Rose’ of Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina.  A beautiful, deep, vibrant rose color. Has a surprising amount of body for a rosé wine, and beautiful aromas of fresh, ripe strawberries. Very soft, yet full on the palate with flavors of wild strawberries and young cherries that come rushing in, accompanied by some spice notes and a clean, dry finish.


Robert Sox
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Native of Columbia, SC.  Returned to Columbia area in 2004 after being away for school and work for 25 years.  Undergraduate degree from Clemson and MBA from University of NC at Chapel Hill.  Owner of WineStyles Wine and Gifts in Shoppes at Woodhill since 1985.

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