California and Oregon wineries are currently releasing their 2014 rosé (blush) wines, and since they are produced in limited quantities, now is the time to stock up for the dog days of summer.
Although rosé is the French word for pink, there are no grapes with pink skins per se. Rosé wines are produced from red-skinned grapes and can run the gamut of color from very light pink to darker red. They can be made from any red grape, but pinot noir is especially adaptable to this popular type of wine.
Rosés are not new, although their popularity in recent years seems to suggest this. The baby boomer generation, including myself, can remember the slightly sweet Mateus and Lancers Rosés that were the favored quaffs of our youth. Wine writer Jay McInerney recalled in the book, “Bacchus & Me,” “Back in the summer of 1973, I probably derived just as much pleasure from that first bottle of Mateus as I have from any number of first growth clarets since. Maybe more. I was in the company of my first love; the night and, beyond it, the entire summer stretched out ahead of me like a river full of fat silvery pink-fleshed fish. And that was what the wine tasted like. Its tasted like summer.”
More recently white zinfandel has filled the role. These slightly sweet rosés appeal to the American soda pop palate, but more serious, yet affordable, bone-dry rosés have become increasingly popular.
No need to feel embarrassed to admit you like dry rosé wine, for it is one of the world’s most versatile food companions. Rosés are the perfect accompaniment to summer fare including, hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers, grilled chicken and seafood, crab or shrimp Louie, and my favorite, a BLT sandwich.