Wine Talk: Drink pink

In the past five years, rosé wines—refreshing, romantic and ideal for our climate—have improved in quality and popularity.

Rose Wines (photo credit: MCT)
Rose Wines
(photo credit: MCT)
There is nothing like the color pink to evoke romance. It could be pink roses or a pink Valentine’s Day card. What could be a better statement than to drink a pink rosé wine or, even better, a pink sparkling wine with someone you love?
Regrettably, since the heady days of Grenache Rosé, pink wines came to be considered passé in Israel. They were considered cheap and representing nothing at all. Neither fish nor fowl, a rosé was judged to be without the character of a red wine or the freshness of a white. Choosing a rosé in a restaurant was seen as an admission of a lack of knowledge or playing it safe. Furthermore, the rosés of old also lacked the fruit and freshness to make them popular. In other words, the quality was not there.
Thankfully, the quality of the rosés has improved immeasurably in the last five years. There is now a large range of fruity, fragrant wines with prominent acidity that are perfect for Israel’s climate. Today’s wine drinking public is more knowledgeable and open to new ideas. They have responded by giving rosé another chance. There are also some new sparkling rosés, and this is arguably the most romantic of all the pink wines.
Rosés are made in three ways. The first is separating the grape skins from the must (grape juice) early in the process, then proceeding as though it were a white wine.
It is the grape skins that provide color, so the depth of the color depends on the time of skin contact. The result is basically like a white wine, pink in color, but made from red grapes. This is why wines like White Zinfandel often have the word “white” or “blanc” in their name. They are sometimes referred to as blush wines because of the attractive, delicate pink color.
The second way is the “saignée” method, where wine is “bled” off from the red wine-making process. The effect of this concentrates the red wine and provides a fuller flavored rosé wine, which is liable to have more character.
The third way is simply mixing red and white wines. This does not happen with table wines but is the normal with champagne.
Serve rosé wines very cold. Put a bottle into the refrigerator at least two hours in advance. Alternatively, put it in an ice bucket or a sink with plenty of ice and water.
Never apologize to friends, who you think understand more than you, for choosing a rosé wine or sparkling rosé. Generally this category is perfect for summer drinking. The wines go very well with most vegetable dishes, fish and cold meats. They are really mood wines, and these days it is more important “to match the wine to the mood rather than the food.”
The best international rosé wines come from Provence and the south of France. The largest-selling rosé is arguably the White Zinfandel blush style from California. However, Israel’s new rosés are good and worth a try. They’re ideal for a long summer’s evening or a romantic evening when the color says it all. ■
The best rosé wines
Whether your choice is still or sparkling, my suggestion is to get romantic with a rosé this Valentine’s Day. Below I list a range of some of the best still or sparkling rosé wines at different prices.
Selected Sparkling Rosé Delicate salmon-pink sparkling wine. Aroma of strawberries with a touch of sweetness.
Barkan Classic Shiraz Rosé 2010
Fresh, dry, slightly spicy and fruity. Made from Shiraz grapes.
BEST BUY (BEST VALUE FOR MONEY) – BETWEEN NIS 30 AND NIS 50 Private Collection Brut Rosé
Dry sparkling wine with an attractive pink color. Fruity, with a clean, refreshing finish.
Dalton Rosé 2010 Beautifully colored rosé made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, with touch of sweetness.
Faustino Cava Rosado (not kosher) Made from Garnacha (a.k.a.
Grenache). Fruity, wellmade rosé sparkling wine from Bodegas Faustino in Spain.
BEST QPR (QUALITY TO PRICE RATIO) – BETWEEN NIS 50 AND NIS 75 Recanati Rosé 2010 Raspberry and cherry aroma, with good acidity. An ideal gift in an attractive bottle. Made from Barbera and Merlot grapes.
Amphorae Med Rosé 2010 (not kosher) Quite full bodied for a rosé but full of flavor. Made by Amphorae, a beautiful winery in the foothills of Mount Carmel.
SPECIAL PURCHASE – NIS 75 TO NIS 90 Flam Rosé 2010 Fresh, fragrant and minerally, with great acidity. Made from Cabernet Franc. Flam’s first kosher wine release.
LUXURY – NIS 200 +
Drappier Rosé Champagne (not kosher) The real McCoy. Family- run Champagne house, produced from the Champagne region in France. Nothing like real Champagne to make a romantic moment!
Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes about wine in Israeli and international publications.