Rose by any other name

It’s springtime in Naples Florida. This means that it is 80+ degrees and the humidity is increasing. It’s funny how it feels after the winter cold and dry. Two things are important to me in springtime: rose and boating.

Rose has suffered a bad reputation over the past twenty years from its cousin, blush wine (or White Zinfandel) as it is known here in America. Rose is often misunderstood and undervalued in the United States as a premium product. This is largely due to the miseducation and popular stereotype about rose. Here’s the truth about rose: how it is made, where it comes form, and why it is a premium product…directly from France’s Provence.

A little history

600 B.C. In 600 B.C., the Greeks invaded Southern France, more specifically Provence. They brought with them vines and started to harvest, plant, and produce wine. Winemaking has been a part of everyday life in Provence since the arrival of the Greeks. The blush style, however, is a unique feature of this region.

What is rose?

Rose is a type of wine. It is pink in French. Rose wine can be made from many grape varieties, but you will most often see Syrah or Grenache in rose wine, especially in Provence. Roses are crisp, dry wines. Roses can vary in structure, color, and flavor, but you best gifts for scotch lovers will still enjoy strawberry, citrus and floral tastes.

Why is it pink?

True roses are made from red grapes (or black/purple). The wine’s natural color is similar to red wine. It gets its pigment from the skin of dark grapes. This gives it more tannins as well as structure. These wines are only femermented with skins for a short time to achieve a rose color, rather than a deep red hue. Roses will only be exposed to the skin for a short time, while some red wines are fermented with skins for extended periods. The darker the color, the longer you wait.

What should I pair it up with?

Rose is a wonderful wine that can be paired with delicious food. French rose is a great choice for mediterranean food. However, it can also be paired with other cuisines such as Indian, Middle Eastern, Thai and Spanish paella. It’s also a great wine to go with Thanksgiving-like meals and roast turkey. It is also a great wine to enjoy at the pool or beach in the morning/afternoon.

Charles Smith & Charles Bieler made Charles & Charles Rose

What can I do?

Red is my only choice

Gargiulo Rosato di Sangiovese
This rose is 100% Sangiovese from Napa Valley. This rose is perfect for red wine lovers, as it has intense flavors and structure. There’s even a hint of tannin at the end.

I like my California Chardonnay…

Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel
It is a favorite rose, smooth and silky, with light strawberry flavours and acidity. This producer produces some of the finest roses in Provence – the highest end (over $100), is better than white Burgundies.

Roses are not my favorite flower…

Charles & Charles Rose*
My sister and her fiancé know very little about wine, but are just beginning to enjoy it. They also hate sweet wines and were hesitant to try rose. This was until they ordered the bottle at dinner last night. They were rose-lovers three bottles later. The wine is crisp and clean, with just the right amount of acidity and fruit.