Saturday, 13 April 2024

Foodie Freak: Ros

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Rosé (pronounced “roh-ZAY”) isn’t a varietal wine grape. Rather, it is a certain style of making wine. I wanted to cover it in this series comparing wines to celebrities because, in my opinion, Renée Zellwegger is a Rosé wine.


Renée Zellweger, although she has done many serious roles, is perhaps more well known for the comedies she has done. Rosé-style wines, although a fantastic style of wine and many are very good, aren’t appreciated by many people and aren’t taken seriously.


Rosé can be like Renée Zellweger in “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” a little chubby and cloyingly sweet, but they can also be lighter and sultry like she was in “Chicago.” If a person doesn’t like Rosé or Renée Zellweger, it’s usually because they are judging from just one incident that wasn’t to their taste, while if they were to try another movie or a different Rosé they would most likely find one that they would love.


You may have had a mass produced Rosé wine that you thought was too sweet and was like drinking a liquid candy. Sweeter Rosés are sometimes called “Blush.”


Rosé can be dry or sweet, light or heavy, creamy or effervescent. They are very open to a winemaker’s influence. Blending of white wines with small amounts of red wines was once a common way to make a Rosé wine but isn’t done very often any more.


A Rosé is typically made by crushing red grapes and putting them in a vat. The grape skins will start imparting color and flavors to the “must” (which is what the crushed grape juice is called at this point). The winemaker will then take regular samples of the must until it achieves the color he/she is looking for.


The grape skins are then strained out and the pure juice then fermented like a white wine. In a way you could say that Rosé wine is a red wine, interrupted, or a post traumatic obsessive white wine, like “Nurse Betty.”


Renée Zellweger claims to be part Norwegian, which I’m sure she says for simplicity’s sake but isn’t entirely correct. Her mother is of Sami heritage, which is the aboriginal people of the Lapland area of northern Norway. So she’s Norwegian in the way that American Indians are Americans. Renée Zellweger has very distinct Sami features like her eyes and cheekbones.


Similarly, Rosé that are crafted from a specific variety of grape aren’t technically that wine but they can have the distinct features from that grape. Rosé is a red wine and it isn’t.


Not only that but both Renée Zellweger and Rosé have a weird accent mark in them for some reason. Will the similarities never cease?


The Tavel region in France is an appellation dedicated to dry Rosés. While America isn’t very serious about Rosé the French are passionate about them. They have Gris de Bourgogne, Rosé de Provence and Rosé de Loire. Europeans drink Rosé as often as they do white wines.


White Zinfandel isn’t what I or many others would consider a Rosé although in a way it is. Because it is made with a slightly different process called “saignée” which involves “bleeding” the vat (more of those weird accent marks!). Since the grape skins float and the color and tannins are going to be concentrated near them, the winemaker will bleed some of the must from the bottom of the vat in order to concentrate the final Zinfandel wine. The juice that is bled off is then made into white Zinfandel.


So as you can see, it is not a typical Rosé style wine but it can claim to be a Rosé. It’s just a different process that ends up with the same wine. For some reason they didn’t take the Rosé name and went with “white Zinfandel”


Flavors you can find in a Rosé are cherries, cranberries, cinnamon, flowers, fresh herbs, ginger, honey, key lime, lingonberry (a Norwegian berry with a taste similar to cranberries), minerals, passion fruit, pomegranate, oranges, raspberries, spice, strawberries, tropical fruits, violets and watermelon.


When pairing Rosé with food a good rule of thumb is, if it’s pink it will match well with Rosé. Salmon, tuna, bouillabaisse, ham, shrimp, and even, unlike most wines, with salads (I know, salads aren’t pink).


It may be a little cliché but I think Rosé style wines are the perfect summer wine. They tend to be crisp, cool and refreshing, something you want to drink while sitting on your deck watching whatever is out behind your deck.


Then again, it’s that perfect wine to go with your holiday salmon or ham. I’m bringing a couple of different Rosés to my family's Christmas dinner, I won’t be bringing Renée Zellweger in any other manner …


Lake County Rosé (Grape they are made from)


Brassfield Estate Winery (Pinot Noir) available only at the tasting room

Ceago Vinegarden (Syrah)

Gregory Graham Wines (Grenache, Syrah)

Monte Lago Estate (Grenache) Also available under the Dharmapalan label

Moore Family Winery (Syrah, Grenache)

Rosa D’Oro Vineyards (Rosato)

Shannon Ridge Vineyards and Winery (Syrah)

Six Sigma Ranch (Cabernet Sauvignon, Temperanillo, Cabernet Franc)

Sol Rouge Vineyard and Winery (Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah)

Steele Winery (Cabernet Franc)

Terrill Cellars Wines (Merlot Blush)

Tulip Hill (Merlot, Syrah)

Wildhurst Vineyards (Syrah)


Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community. Follow him on Twitter, http://twitter.com/Foodiefreak .

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