233; time is here! This is the time of year when ros&
233; wines are the hit of the evening. Over the years we have bounced around the wine globe wondering if ros&
233; wines were worth the money. This is because ros&
233; wines, for the lack of a better word, were simply "awful." It seemed that there were either folks who could not make good ros&
233; wines or there were drinkers who simply did not care enough about ros&
233; wines to demand that these wines be well made and fresh. Either way, with a few exceptions, notably in France and Spain ros&
233; wines were lackluster, sold when too old or had enough sugar in the glass to float a small, somewhat used battleship!
From the mid-1930s until about 1975 when ros&
233; wines began having the name "Blush" written all over them, the wines took a huge dive in quality. White Zinfandel, the noble Zinfandel grape emasculated into wimpy, blushy colors hit the shelves in the early 1970's and gave a whole new meaning to the term "insipid." Within a few years the wine suppliers had catalogues filled with these offerings from around California. Each blush wine tasted like liquid cotton candy and had to be served cold enough to make your hand and tongue blue or the taste would be too sticky to drink. Other folks would cut up lemon or dry the stuff out with soda water to cut the sugar. The 1970s and 80s were not good years for these wines but the public at large drank them up.
In defense of the blush winemakers of that era (well, this is how they defend themselves), they believe that blush wines helped an entire generation get to know and understand, in a general sense, wine. The winemakers of these evil blush sugar drinks now call them "entrance level" wines believing that after a few years of ros&
233; tinted sweet wines the consumer went on to and still goes on to dry, more sophisticated wines. I find this, literally, pretty hard to swallow. There have been few studies out there to indicate that wine drinkers will graduate from really bad, low alcohol "junk food vino" to Chateau Palmer! I just think this is smoke and mirrors nonsense from winemakers unwilling to make decent wine and upgrade consumers to wines of complexity and elegance that will marry well with cuisine. This is also a problem with wineries that have planted too many red wine grapes and find it "easy" to blush them out, lower the price and pay the bills.
Thankfully (now that I have gotten all of this off my chest) the consuming public is demanding dry, complex and sturdy ros&
233; wines that are superb partners to cuisine of all types. Leading the way are the Europeans who have been dry ros&
233; folks seemingly forever. We are also seeing wonderful ros&
233; wines from the noble Pinot Noir made in Oregon and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State and California. Here is the key to success; find wine from cooler climates and with higher alcohol levels. Try to hit between 12.5 percent to around 14 percent alcohol for your ros&
233; choices. This will give you good acidity, dryness and probably some weight on the palate. If you go under 12 percent alcohol understand that the sugar levels will begin to raise quickly. If you like a bit of sugar in ros&
233; wine chill the wine well and see if it doesn't go down a little nicer on the palate.
See you next week!
'Tis the season for ros? wine