Rosé, By Any Other Name

DESPITE THE GRANDIOSE EFFORTS OF FASHIONISTAS to promote pink as a color for men, it’s always going to be closely associated with women. Yet, off the clothing racks, the same still holds true in the wine world: Pink or rosé wine is popular mostly with women imbibers. In fact, women own the category-and for good reason.

To start, pink wines are great-looking. The colors of rosés span a wide range, from the rose gold hues to a pretty peach pink, from salmon all the way to fuchsia and a striking, almost purple hue. What woman wouldn’t want to be seen drinking such a gorgeous, fashionable and stylish wine? And did I mention there are those rosés that even sparkle? Ladies can now even find a little “bling” inside the glass.

In addition, pink wines have no strings attached; in other words, these wines simply want to have fun. They forgo all the snooty innuendo of the academic wine world. You drink rosés when you want to let your hair down and relax.

You don’t pick up a rosé before sitting down to write an essay or thesis-that’s burgundy territory. There’s no pretense that says you have to own a vineyard or have read a wine encyclopedia to thoroughly enjoy them.

Think about a café on a quaint street in Paris, or watching the sunset from Diamond Head. Whether sharing with others or enjoying just a bit of “me” time, rosés are about the moment.

And despite what many wine snobs might say or think about pink wines, they are wines of immense pleasure. They can be made bracingly dry or succulently sweet. They can be made from virtually any red grape variety by either allowing the juice to stay in contact with the skins for a short period or from blending a red wine with a clear wine (the method used for most Champagnes). And rosés may not be the most age worthy wines in the world, but what they lack in that department is more than made up for in their complexity and deliciousness.

Take, for instance, the Bandol rosé from Domaine Tempier in Provence.

Many, including myself, call it the greatest dry rosé on Earth. It is a hedonistic blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvedre grapes harvested off the limestone soils of the Bandol appellation, where they are grown to perfect ripeness in close proximity to the air of the Mediterranean Sea. One of the unique things about this estate is that they grow these grapes solely for creating a dry rosé-it is not just a byproduct of their making red wines. The result is amazing, like a drop of the Provencale sunshine in a glass. Aromas of crushed berries, dried flowers and flavors of citrus peels and fragrant herbs dot the palate. Released in the spring of every year, they are gone more quickly than the fleeting showers that plump the grapes before picking.

If sweet pink wines are your desire, then you must look for Patrick Bottex’s Cerdon “La Ceuille.” This purple-pink cutie is made from the Gamay and local Poulsard grapes in what is called the “traditional method.” Here, they begin the fermentation in a vat, and before all the sugar is fermented out of the wine, they bottle it-securing some of the sugars as well as the bubbles. The wine ends up to be lightly sparkling, with the perfect balance of sweetness; gobs of juicy lychee and grape jam flavors beg for your attention along with a fresh bouquet of strawberry flowers. As earlier stated, this is happy, smiley good fun.

You’ve invariably heard the phrase that “Champagne is the only beverage that leaves a woman just as beautiful after drinking it,” right? I would be remiss not to mention one of my favorites from the famed Champagne house of Louis Roederer. Its Vintage Rosé is one of this insider’s best-kept secrets. Like its more famous sibling Cristal, it is not made every year, but only in the best ones. It is made from two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay, is aged for almost five years prior to release, and it becomes more refined and complex in the cold cellars under the city of Reims. If you can find it, you will immediately smell and taste its sheer class and pedigree. Notes of baked stollen, red fruits and ginger snaps come to the fore with deep and rich flavors lingering on your palate. This is superb rosé that can make you feel divine.

So whether kicking back or having a night on the town, pink is in. Enjoy it, love it, own it. You go, girl!

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