What words come to mind, when you see this color or hear its name? What associations, emotions, pictures, people? I see beautiful sunsets, gorgeous azalea blooms from my home state of Florida, Sunday dresses, spring ties, sprinkled cupcakes, seersucker suits, brightly colored parrots, a singer by this name, ripe strawberries, and, of course, flamingos. Not to mention delicious rosé wine, my subject of choice today.
After having coffee this morning, with a wonderful friend and colleague within the wine industry, I felt compelled to mention a few things on “pink wine.” We shared stories of how “pink” wines are perceived within the wine-consuming crowd. As kismet would have it, I had a half-finished bottle of rosé in my fridge, an evening off, and another new book to begin reading. At 11:00 this morning, I was already imagining a summery beet salad and some goat cheese to pair with my chilled wine. I constantly question why anyone would limit their enjoyment or palate because of preconceived notions of what a color means to them.
So, what is rosé, exactly? Many people equate any pink wine with the style of a White Zinfandel, which is oftentimes a sweet, deeply colored, low acid, low tannin, “quaffable” or easy-drinking wine. It was mass-produced in the 1980s and gave a lot of crisp, dry, quality rosés a bad rap. Basically stated, a grape’s skin color imparts color to a wine, and how long the grape skins connect with the clear juice determines the resulting wine’s color intensity. The amount of time the juice connects with the skins also determines tannin intensity, viscosity, age-worthiness, among other characteristics. To read more in depth about how rosé is made, click here. Rosé wine can be vinified sweet or dry and can vary in color from a touch of blush to a punch of electric magenta.
Pink is one of only a few colors that, for some strange reason, is often attached with both societal attributions and gender specificity. Ask yourself. Seriously. Are you going to limit your perspective, your palate, your sales potential, your pairing opportunity, your enjoyment of the variety in this world…because of a color?
Tasted and paired this afternoon…
Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aine, “Parallele 45”, Grenache-Cinsault-Syrah Rosé, Cotes du Rhone, France, 2012
Breaking it down: Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aine is the producer; “Parallele 45” is the name of the wine; Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah are the grapes; Rosé is the style; Cotes du Rhone is the region within France; and 2012 is the year the grapes were picked. This wine takes its name from the 45th North parallel, where the vineyards are located. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and is best enjoyed within three years. The winery employs organic and sustainable growing methods.
- On the eyes – clear, brilliant salmon pink.
- On the nose – opulent, red berries, strawberry, watermelon, notes of thyme, with mineral undertones.
- On the palate – dry, with tart, red berries; crisp, with mineral notes of slate; fresh herbaceous notes; medium-plus acidity, with a bright, light finish.
- On the table – perfect with summer salads, grilled or sautéed halibut, roasted beets, and goat cheese.
- On the shelf – around $15.
- On the ears – paired with Bonobo’s “Cirrus” from his album, “The North Borders.” I really wanted to pair this wine with a The Big Pink number, simply because of the color association, but I could not stop listening to this particular album. (I am biased because I recently saw Bonobo perform at the Ogden Theater with his full band – a rarity – in late March.) This nearly six-minute-long track is electronically driven, with organic xylophone and percussion overtones. The repetitive bass line carries free-form hand drums and interesting synthesized keyboards…almost trance-like.
For my salady snack, I clipped some lettuce from one of the container gardens on the back porch, making sure to select leaves from the outer portion of the plant, leaving the stalk or head of the lettuce intact. My beets were not ready to be picked, so I headed down to Whole Foods and purchased some already-roasted beets (slightly homemade!). Our stove is sitting in the middle of our living room right now, so using it is impossible. I am grateful for a grocery store that has some pre-cooked goods!
After dicing up the beets, chopping the greens, and slicing some sweet onion, I made a quick vinaigrette. I am constantly experimenting with different salad dressings. Once you get some practice, your inner mixologist will come out to play, and you will never purchase pre-made salad dressings ever again. Once you find the ratio of a vinaigrette’s components that you like, you can make the batch as small or as large, as you need. Here is my basic recipe for making a vinaigrette:
3 parts oil + 1 part vinegar + squeeze or two of citrus + seasonings
Of course, you can obtain a very specific recipe for vinaigrette, but I challenge you to at least adhere to the oil to vinegar ratio and play around with the seasonings. I used some of my dried herb blend, a pinch of sea salt, and some cracked black pepper. I poured the dressing over the greens, beets, and onion, adding toasted hazelnuts and Haystack Mountain goat cheese. What kind of vinaigrettes do you make? Do you have a special recipe that you use or have created? And do you have any pink wines that you consider summer staples? I would love to know…