Bentley’s Grill Wine Steward Mark Jacklich is continuing his studies with the Court of Master Sommeliers through 2012. In addition, he plans to spend a lot of time working with Jim Bernau’s team at Willamette Valley Vineyards and learn more about the process from grapes to wine full circle. Mark is eager to share his knowledge with you in an educational series we call: Wine Notes with Mark. Enjoy!
My personal favorite summer wine is a rosé. While they are made from red wine grapes, the limited skin contact with the juice imparts a pink hue and gives off light and bright flavors that are hallmarks of summer.
From the light strawberry, watermelon and cherry flavors, a rosé is typically a lighter expression of the grapes of which it was pressed from. Some believe that some blending may have occurred between white wine and red wine to get rosé. While this is very uncommon and often frowned upon, this does occur in sparkling wines frequently.
When rosé is produced by from the by-product of secondary fermentation it is called the Saignée Method (from French “Bleeding”). When a winemaker wants to impart more tannin and color to a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must can be removed at an early stage.
The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced, and the must involved in the maceration is concentrated. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé.
In the 1970s demand for white wine exceeded the availability of white wine grapes, so many California producers made “white” wine from red grapes, in a form of saignée production with minimal skin contact, the “whiter” the better. In 1975, Sutter Home’s “White Zinfandel” wine experienced a stuck fermentation, a problem in which the yeast dies off before all the sugar is turned to alcohol. Winemaker Bob Trinchero put it aside for two weeks, then upon tasting it he decided to sell this pinker, sweeter wine.
There is little difference from a rosé to a “blush”. The Term Blush is generally restricted to wines sold in North America. Although “blush” originally referred to a color (pale pink), it now tends to indicate a relatively sweet pink wine, typically with 2.5% residual sugar. In North America dry pink wines are usually marketed as rosé but sometimes as blush. In Europe, almost all pink wines are referred to as rosé regardless of sugar levels, even semi-sweet ones from California.
A Couple of my favorites Include Trinity Vineyards 2010 Estate Rosé, and Anam Caras 2011 Nicholas Estate Rosé from the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Both made from the pinot noir grape, and both available by the bottle here at Bentley’s Grill.