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Rose wines have fast become the choice of wine, for the younger generation. Women, especially clamber for their more delicate flavours, and the easiness in which they can be drunk.
I must confess, that I do enjoy a nice rose from time to time, though if I was told that I could only take ten bottles of wine with me, not one would be pink! They tend to lack the complexity, and body that can be given by big reds, or the better whites out there. It seems to me, that they have been created as a wine for those who do not really like wine. Fools.
The name rose, comes from the French meaning pinkish. The wine will take on some of the colour of a red wine grape, but only enough to make it turn pink. Think of it like putting ribena into water. If you put a tiny amount in, the resulting drink is very pale, but if you put a lot in it is a deep purple in colour. Rose wine can take on all the same colour variation, depending on the type of grape used and the length of time the grape skin is left in the mix.
There are three main ways in which a rose wine can be created. The first, is probably the least common. It is simply to blend a white wine and a red wine together. It tends not to work too well, though. Imagine mixing together coffee, and tea. The resulting drink will contain characteristics of both, but I dare say that it would not taste too good!
The second method, is probably the most common. Skin contact. This is as simple as it sounds. The rose wine is created using a red wine grape. The skin of the grape contains the pigment that turns a wine red. So, if you start to make a wine in the same way as a red wine, but remove the skins much earlier, it has the same affect as adding less ribena to the mix. The resultant wine will be 'pink'. It is also a key factor in making the resultant wine hold characteristics more similar to a white wine. The grape skin contains the tannins, that make a red wine dry and slightly more bitter. If these are removed early, then you will find you will create a much softer, and less complex wine.
The third, and final method is saignee. More of a side-effect from red winemaking, saignee uses bi-products from creating big red wines. The winemaker can intensify the resultant red wine, by syphoning off some of the juice at an early stage. This juice will be pink in colour, and can be used seperatly to create a truly pink wine.
In recent times, the demand for white wine has grown far too quickly. Their simply was not enough white wine grapes to produce enough wine to supply the market. Therefore the winemakers had to find a way, to create enough wine with white wine characteristics, to supply the demand. This is why rose wine took off in such a big way. It allowed the winemaker to create a white tasting wine from a red grape. This was the birth of the well know white zinfandel. At first I thought that it was strange that they were calling a rose wine, white. But if you know what a proper zinfandel looks like, then you can see why this one is called white.
Several roses are noteworthy, if not to my personal taste. They tend to be the californians. The likes of the white zinfandel, or the white grenache. They will tend to contain a really fruity nose, and have a great deal of flavour. This will tend to be summer fruits, with strawberry, raspeberry and melon notes. Again, this is a very general thing to say, as it has direct relation to what grape is used. However, it is noticeable that they tend to be milder in terms of taste to reds, and even to the better whites on the market.
The rose has its place. It can be the one to go for if you are looking for a wine to drink on its own, and not with food. This is due to its easy drinking nature, and its lack of complexity. If you are to drink it with food, then I would suggest a that it be taken with food as delicate as it is. For example a lightly dressed salad, or a light fish dish. Also they are ok to be taken with desert, due to their sweetness. However, in my book it is so much more satisfying to chooses full blown reds, or whites. They are what they are, but unfortunately in my book, that is rather dull. Some people love them, but these tend to be people who know little about wine. I wouldn't waste my time with them now, if it was not for my darling wife, who adores them!
Champagnes of a pink hue obtained by assembly or maceration.