Summer has finally arrived and so we should look at a few summer reds — and by red I include rosé.
Rosé is all about the timing of the winemaking.
If, for instance, you are making a deep, dark Cabernet Sauvignon, you will want to leave the grapes in the vat for days on end after you crush them. Most of a wine’s color comes from the grape skins, not the pulp of the grape itself, which tends to be grayish. The long process is also how tannins are transferred to the juice. The longer the grape juice sits with its skins, the darker the color will be, and the higher the tannin.
If, however, you want to make a lighter summer wine, the trick is to pull the grape juice off the skins soon after everything goes into the vat – sometimes only a few hours after. When you do that, you wind up with a refreshing summer rosé.
Here are a couple that I recently sampled.
-- Mulderbosch 2013 Rosé, Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa, $10.99, 12.5% abv. South Africa has truly come into its own as a world-class winemaking region; its wines are found and respected the world over. Mulderbosch has been around for a few years now, and each new vintage is something to look forward to. This rosé is salmon pink, vibrant in color, with a clean refreshing nose of light red fruit. The palate is just off-dry, the medium acidity and body, well-integrated alcohol, and medium-plus flavor intensity, with flavors of strawberry, and just a hint of currant. Light tannin. Light and refreshing for summer. 87 points.
-- Berlucchi 2013 Franciacorta 61 Rosé, 12.5% abv. The Mulderbosch above is a still wine, meaning no bubbles. Rosé can also be sparkling and zesty. This rosé is a lighter pink with salmon hue, with fast-rising bubbles. The nose is clean and light, with red fruit. The palate is light and zippy (I’m not sure that’s an official wine word, but you get the idea), with very little tannin, off-dry, with balanced alcohol, and medium flavor intensity of red fruit including strawberry and a bit of cherry. Good balance of components, and ready for summer. Rosés like this are not typically for laying down; rather, it’s buy now drink now. Especially on a hot day. 86 points.
-- Now, if you are one of those folks who drink heavy reds year round, consider Tuscany’s Avignonesi 2011 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, 14% abv. Purple with some ruby hues, deeper core, dark fruit and graphite on the nose with hints of cedar too. Dry, with medium-plus tannin, medium acidity, medium alcohol, and medium smooth body, and flavors of black fruit including black berry, some currant, hints of red fruit and cedar in the background. Smooth and supple, a wine for heavier foods, grilled or roasted. 84 points.
Jim Beauregard is a local wine and beer writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.