Summer is inexorably linked to rosés. The refreshing nature of rosés and their versatility with both meats and fish make them the perfect pairing for summer BBQs. For all of the many positive qualities of rosés, they have been unfortunately mistreated in North America. The perception that these wines are sweet, simple and stereotypically a "woman's drink" is most definitely untrue as these selections below will prove. Besides, we women are complex creatures and wines worthy of our attention should present a challenge.
The unfortunate reputation of rosés stems largely from the new world where the term "blush" became very fashionable more than a decade ago for sweet, inexpensive, mass-produced wines marketed mainly towards women. However, rosé wines have been produced for far longer all over the world, in more varied and complex styles appealing to both sexes. Therefore, ladies, if the man in your life has reservations about sipping these stylish treats with you, you can tell him that only real men drink pink. In fact, in the summer in most of Europe, you'll find just as many or more men enjoying a glass of refreshing rosé as women.
Rosé wines are most commonly produced in one of two ways. The most common way is called the saignées method, which begins the same way as all red wines do - the berries are crushed and then allowed to macerate (juice and skins remain together for the purpose of extraction of colour, tannins and flavour) before the fermentation begins. Once the desired level of pinkish colour has been achieved, the juice is separated, or "racked" from the must (skins and seeds) and the wine is allowed to ferment free of skins and seeds. Winemakers will sometimes rack away only a portion of the wine for a rosé, leaving some behind to benefit from an extra high ratio of skins and seeds, producing a concentrated red wine with a darker colour and more intense tannins.
The other method involves blending white and red wines to produce a pinkish colour. It takes only a small amount of red wine to give a white wine its pinkish hue. Most serious rosé producing regions eschew this method in favour of the saignée method.
Just in time for summer, here are some well-priced recommendations to get you energized for this most enjoyable of seasons:
Perrin Réserve Rosé 2010, Ac Côtes Du Rhône, Rhone, France, 719062, $15.95
Cono Sur Camenere RoséReserva 2010, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 234567, $11.95
Malivoire Ladybug Rosé 2010, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, 559088, $15.95
Mas Des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Rosé 2010, Ac Costières De Nîmes Rhone, France, 950576, $13.95
Click here for a shopping list of these wines available at your nearest LCBO.