Is Your Rosé a Leftover or Made with Intention?

AZ Rose Wine Beach

Rosé wines have been made for centuries yet the current love affair with dry rosé in the United States is a more recent phenomenon.  With the popularity of white Zinfandel in the 80’s and 90’s, pink hues in the USA signaled cloying, candy sweet.  As we’ve learned more about the delicious dry styles of rosé, pink no longer equals sweet.

Rosé can be made three ways.  The most frowned upon method, rarely seen, is simply to mix red wine with white wine.  Another way is employed because sometimes a winemaker wants to drain off (“bleed”) some pink juice to intensify the remaining red juice for a deeper red wine.  This pink free-run juice can then be fermented as a rosé.  This method is called saignee or French for ‘bleeding.’   When rosé is made with intention, the grapes are left on the skins until the juice achieves the desired pink color and is then pressed and fermented like any other fine white wine.

Today dry rosés are no longer the secret of wine experts but are enjoying fresh popularity.  With so many to choose from, how do you know if you are making the right choice and buying something that is more than just a cold beverage?

Color seems like a place to start but it can be misleading in part because rosés can be made from any red grape.  A dark pink color from a black grape like Mourvèdre might indicate a hint of bitterness whereas the palest pink from a Pinot Noir (which has fewer color components than other red grapes) could have more body and flavor than deeply colored wines.  Experiments with blind tastings using black wine glasses have demonstrated that even wine experts can be fooled when there are no color cues. 

The best examples of rosé are made intentionally with grapes picked at first full ripeness to retain bright acidity, perfect color achieved through contact with the grape skins, and careful attention through fermentation.  As the popularity of dry rosé grows, so do examples of the intentional style with body and texture achieved through best winemaking practices rather than sugar.  One such carefully made rosé to try is A to Z Wineworks Oregon Rosé.  A to Z has been making rosé since 2005 (that is, before rosés were cool).  Based on Sangiovese (the famed Tuscan grape of Chianti), A to Z offers a rich juicy style of rosé with a satisfying deep pink color and full mouthfeel. 

A to Z Rosé

Enjoy a sweet touch to your palate with grapefruit, citrus zest, and peach finish. The perfect companion for your next occasion.

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