War of the Rosés
Maverick pink wine is terrifying the French
Recently, winemakers across Provence declared a "war of the rosés" by protesting an EU initiative that would allow the blending of white and red grapes to make pink wine (they fear this cocktail-style approach would flood the market with cheap rosé).
Traditionally, rosés are made by soaking red grapes (and red grapes only) with their skins just long enough for the juice to gain some blush; the hue depends on the grape type and soaking time. This is how it's done in most of the world, whether it's the law or not.
Yet the number of unconventional--and completely delicious--rosés on the market suggests that straying from tradition isn't necessarily a bad tact. Here are our favorite maverick bottles; you make the call.
2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard California Vin Gris de Cigare ($14) Proof that white grapes can play a respectable role in rosé, this bottling includes a touch of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne to add depth and silkiness to the red-fruit pleasures of Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah (winebuys.com).
2008 Bieler Père et Fils Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Sabine Rosé ($9) At 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, this isn't your typical Provencal rosé--in fact, it's particularly savory, with a mouthwatering orange spice (pjwine.com).
2008 Skouras Peloponnese Zoë Rosé ($15) A blend of the cherry-ific, deeply red Agiorgitiko with the floral, pink-skinned Moschofilero, this unusual Greek blend is just red enough to stand up to lamb chops--but light enough to be refreshing (grandwinecellar.com).
2008 Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly Rosé ($20) There's nothing unusual about rosé made from Gamay, it's just unusual to find the grape in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Steve Edmunds, the only California winemaker working with Gamay, makes an electrically fresh rosé from it, bright with red raspberry flavor (crushwineco.com).
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