The heat is on for a perfect ros

As Pessah approaches, well-priced blush wine could be the perfect solution for your Seder and spring.

rose wine 88 (photo credit: )
rose wine 88
(photo credit: )
In Diesel's latest advertising campaign, fashionably dressed models are photographed in a world completely altered by global warming. The Italian fashion brand shows the gardens of Paris turning tropical; parrots replacing Venetian pigeons; and sea levels that have brought Manhattan and Mount Rushmore underwater. Seeing these ads with scantily dressed beautiful models rubbing tanning cream on each other, I start to think - and I don't think I'm alone here - maybe things heating up wouldn't be so bad after all. According to environmentalists, one of the side effects of global warming would be a variation in season length, with abbreviated transitional seasons. Here in Israel we're already familiar with short springs. Whereas in other parts of the world spring often lasts a clearly-defined couple of months, in our region you can blink and miss it. (This year we have been fortunate to enjoy the full effect of the blossoms, blustery spring showers and wild flowers.) As days get longer and we gradually transition from winter to summer, some of us might not be totally ready to give up on the powerful reds that complement the hearty, warm dishes of winter and turn immediately to mild whites that are a pleasure to savor while sitting on a sunny veranda. Before summer strikes you may want to try something different, such as a dry ros . These are good now, but are equally appealing when the heat is on. After several years of writing about wine I discovered that ros is a problematic topic for a wine critic. If you're for it, you're a lightweight. If you're against it, you're a snob. Yet I find that these wines can be as refreshing and crisp as a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, and some of them offer a unique fragrance and subtle sweetness that are particularly enjoyable. And if Diesel and the environmentalists are right, we'll have much more time to enjoy them as things heat up all year long. SO WHAT gives ros its rosy hue? Even red grapes have white juice, and just as red wines get their color from the grape skins, ros wines are carefully produced by removing the skins before the liquid is a deep red. Ros s are made from red grapes, sometimes more than one variety, and while the taste is always light, most have overtones closer to reds. A high quality ros should glisten in the glass. Depending on the variety of grape, the color will range from light orange to rosy pink. But watch out for extremes: too pinky or too orangy/coral usually indicates a poor quality wine or one that's past its prime. A ros 's bouquet, although usually not complex, also accounts for part of its charm. Look for light floral scents or red berries on the nose. Among the many wines launched at Pessah, I had the chance to taste three several local wines:
GALIL MOUNTAIN Ros 2006: winemaker Micha Vaadia is at the top of his game producing wines that are inexpensive, yet incredibly good and rewarding. This rose shares the many of the same qualities as the winery's reds. You'll find fresh strawberries, rose petal and dried herbs backed up by high acidity and fresh clean finish. An interesting blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. NIS 35. BINYAMINA Yogev 2006: Made of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Zinfandel grapes, this is a good, soft wine which finishes with a little sweetness. It lacks acidity but makes up for that by its attractive fruit. NIS 40 DALTON Ros 2006: Aromas of peach, rose petals and citrus greet the nose with this fun ros . Perhaps just a touch too much acidity overrides the delicate fruit flavors but overall this is an elegant and accessible wine. NIS 39 RECANATI Ros 2006: Aromas of white peach and raspberry and rose petals burst as soon as you pop the cork of this extremely dry blush wine. Made entirely of Cabernet Franc grapes hand picked from a single vineyard at Kibbutz Manara, this is what I think a good ros should smell like. Though it's Recanati's first ros , it shows real class, and at NIS 69 is a great value for money.
Many other wines are now being launched. Red or white, robust or light, one of them, perhaps two, are most likely to be the perfect match to the dish served at your Seder table. Here is a list of a few, all under NIS 55. Take your pick: Carmel winery has launched four new wines in its Private Collection series, two reds and two whites: Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, a full-bodied red with ripe plums and dark berries aroma, and Shiraz 2005: a nice table wine showing aromas of red berries, cherries and hints of green pepper. The reds in the series cost NIS 55, while the whites, including the refreshing Emerald Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, are NIS 35. The staff at Binyamina winery have decided to re-label their best-seller series under the name Teva. The grapes for this series were all picked at relatively new vineyards planted earlier this decade. Four out of the nine wines in Teva series were launched before Pessah, and are sold for NIS 30 each: Cabernet Blush, Chardonnay, Emerald Riesling and Muscat. A colorful label suggesting a tour within the country is attached to each bottle and includes a short description about the Muscat's grape source and the winemaking process. Galil Mountain has launched its Sauvignon Blanc 2006. Last year's climate and temperatures on the Golan Heights weren't optimal for the Sauvignon Blanc, yet this is a superior wine that shows how a great winery can perform when it takes things seriously. Aged for several months in stainless steel tanks after fermentation, it's a marvelously complicated wine, dry and crisp in acids, with impressive citrus, peach and honeysuckle flavors. NIS 38 Efrat winery's Israeli series includes eight different wines made of grapes harvested at vineyards in the lower slopes of the Judean Mountains - Deir Rafat and Kibbutz Tzora, where the new building of the winery is located. The wines in this series, light and packed with fruit, include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Merlot-Petit Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Emerald Riesling, and Zinfandel. NIS 28 Golan Heights Winery, Golan, Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: This full-bodied wine made of 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes features rich blueberry characters with layers of oak and vanilla. It is young and fruity, and produces a soft, velvety mouth feel. NIS 49.n