Le Blanc Rouge by Dan Berger
Don’t be blue now that the 4th of July holiday is over, because the season is just beginning for red white.
Warmer weather is the perfect time to release dry rosé wines, which is admittedly an artificial way of suggesting that there is in fact a better time to drink rose. Whenever. I enjoy them all year round, even in cool weather.
But people like to maintain traditions, and the rose is generally an experiment against the heat, especially recently, after winemakers around the world have mastered the concept of making them.
Today, the rose is truly a product of modern winemaking technology, which the ancients may remember. They knew the bad old days when rosé wine was brown. It was usually oxidized and had all the freshness of a recycling can.
OK, maybe that’s a little harsh, but today’s rosé wines are infinitely better than ever, and they come from places that decades ago never even attempted to make them. . Most are essentially white wines with color undertones.
Delicate, relatively dry and full of personality, these wines are terrace wines that accompany aperitifs and light suppers in warm weather. Or delight without food.
They can be kept cool without harming their flavors, and they usually have enough acidity to stay refreshing even when not cold.
I prefer roses made with Grenache, a grape from the south of France (also in Spain) that usually offers spectacular aromas of cherry, cranberry, strawberry, peach and other stone fruits. Pinot noir roses can also offer wonderful aromas.
We also saw excellent roses made from different red varieties, such as Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Barbera and Gamay. And pink mixes can be fun too.
There is a new variant of rose on the market in recent years. I call them “red whites” because they are delicate in color, slightly more brassy than pink, and they are usually very dry.
So dry, in fact, that they taste slightly more red than white. What sets these wines apart, in part, is that they mimic extremely light red wines. They usually have zero sugar.
Those made without any residual sugar and having good acidity may actually have a textural element on the tongue that allows them to pair beautifully with rich seafood dishes, such as halibut or chicken without heavy sauces.
The bad news for consumers is that wine labels don’t use the term “red white” or “white red” (I just made them up), and there’s no way to determine what’s has in every bottle of rose wine. Buyers are alone.
Even the color is not a clue. Some pale rosé wines appear to be dry, but unless the back label says what’s inside, consumers have no idea. The same goes for darker rosé wines, like Bill and Betsy Nachbauer’s wonderful 2020 Acorn Rosato ($35) from Russian River Valley.
This wine (available only at the winery, https://acornwinery.com) is very dry. It’s deep pink and it’s definitely a red wine in taste. A sip confirms it. The aroma is wonderfully fruity.
This is the definitive white red.
Wine of the Week: 2021 Quivira Rose, Dry Creek, “Wine Creek Vineyard” ($25) – The classic style of this widely distributed wine is precisely what I described above as “red white.” According to the winery’s website: “Rhubarb, watermelon and white peach are accented with subtle floral notes (along with) hints of strawberry…juicy and refreshing with crisp, vibrant acidity and red fruit lingering… As the wine warms up the strawberry character becomes more prominent, (there is) richness in the mid-palate with a cleansing acidity… (G) Pairs well with all classic rose-based foods or alone.” https://quiviravine.com. Simply superb. (Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa has it for $17.99. One of the best pink wines I’ve tasted this year.)
To learn more about Dan Berger and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.