Everything's Turning Up Rose'


I've noticed lately that more and more rosé wines are turning up in our market. Around here, most people would see a rosé and write it off immediately as one of those syrupy, sweet blush wines like white zinfandel. Rosés, in fact, are actually more on the dry side. Time to crush the stigma.

Rosé wines are made all over the world and can be either still wine or sparkling wine. Even though these wines have a pale pink color (some can be darker than others), they are made from red grapes. After crushing the grapes, the juice is left in contact with the skins only long enough to color the juice and eliminate a good bit of residual sugar. The type of grapes used varies from wine to wine, depending on the choice of the winemaker.

Sparkling rosés are my favorite: I've tried a few from California, but have had none better than true rosé Champagnes. Do not hesitate to purchase the Duval-Leroy Brut Rosé de Saignee (about $35) if you see it at your favorite retailer. Made from 100 percent Pinot Noir grapes, this delicious bubbly is rich, a little creamy and wonderfully fruity. This wine is versatile enough to be enjoyed at any point in a meal.

A new one to Mississippi is the Delheim Pinotage Rosé (about $12) from South Africa. Pinotage is indigenous to South Africa and is a hybrid between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. This tasty pink number is dry, but with a touch of semi-sweetness from the cranberry and cherry fruit character this wine displays.

A long-time favorite is the Pedroncelli Zinfandel Rosé (about $10) from Sonoma County. Pedroncelli has been around for 75 years and has been making this yummy rosé for 50 years. Zinfandel grapes are dark, so this wine is darker than most rosés. It's packed full of ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit flavors and is perfect for sipping alongside grilled fish or even burgers. In hot weather, Jim Pedroncelli adds sparkling mineral water to this wine for a refreshing Zin cooler.

A really fun one to try is the Bonny Doon Big House Pink (about $10). The "Big House" wines are made from grapes harvested from vines that lie on the grounds of a prison. A blend of Carignano, Zinfandel and Charbono, this wine has lots of tangy strawberry and guava, almost of a candied quality, yet with a crisp, dry finish. I wouldn't take this one to a fancy dinner party, but I would drink a bunch of it with my buddies.

Pink wines are taboo, but don't be scared to try one of these great off-dry numbers. Just don't hold your pinky out while drinking it.


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