June 9, 2021

Break Out The Rosé!

Capital Gazette Logoby Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

“Long gone are the days we saved our rosés for summer. Today, we drink them year-round because we’ve discovered that these pink elixirs are among the most versatile food wines — and even on a cold day they make us think of summer. But here we are with upon us and the outdoors beckoning. Let’s break out the rosé!

Sales of rosé are increasing about 3 percent a year now that consumers have put distance between the sappy blush wines popularized in the 1990s and the fruity dry rosés made famous in southern France.

While we like Provence rosés best, we are constantly finding delicious copies from California, Oregon and other regions. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault are the dominant grapes used in France. But more recently we are seeing pinot noir and even cabernet sauvignon used for rosé. You pick.

True rosé gets it color from the skins. Winemakers leave the skins in contact with the juice just for a couple of hours, thus making them fainter in color than, say, a cabernet sauvignon that has much longer skin contact. Less common is the saignee method when some of the juice from a red wine is bled off and made into rosé. The final method is to blend a little red wine into a white wine.

Alas, we’ve noticed an uptick in prices for domestic rosé. French rosés are strangely better priced in spite of tariffs and shipping costs.

Here are several we recently tried:

2020 Argyle Rosé of Pinot Noir
We loved this beautifully textured and vibrant rosé from the Eola-Amity Hills appellation of the Willamette Valley. Most of it was fermented in stainless steel to preserve the aromas but the 10 percent neutral oak adds a silky texture. Strawberry and red cherry flavors with a dash of spice.”