March 21, 2011
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is a guest post from Chuck Kanski, who runs a great wine shop on Selby Avenue in St. Paul called Solo Vino. Chuck curates an impeccable selection. It’s hard to leave his shop with a bad bottle. Plus, he’s a fun guy who is anything but a wine snob.
Just in time for the first inklings of spring, Chuck comes through for us with an essay on rosé. Come to think of it, rosé is a great way to bridge the gap between the long winter and the fleeting summer.
Rosé 101: A Guide To Why We Like Pink Wine
By Chuck Kanski
So here’s the deal: the white wine drinker and the red wine drinker will always meet at rosé.
Rosé wine is the most misunderstood wine when it comes to its perception. There is a portion of the wine drinking community that believes that all rosé wines are sweet. Some think of Lancers, Mateus or maybe White Zinfandel, but what I will reference is considered a Mediterranean style dry, rosé.
Wine is really about the expectation of flavor. Why do I drink coffee and not much tea? Why does someone prefer Bordeaux to Burgundy or drink wine from California and not Spain? The reason is that we develop a preference to a specific flavor.
White wine drinkers like white because of its flavor. These ‘expected’ flavors are mostly from the acid & ester. (Ester’s are when an open acid hooks up with an alcohol during the fermentation process).
The red wine drinker likes red because they enjoy the phenols. The phenolic flavors are harvested along with many other goodies from the skin particles of the grape. This is also how wine receives its red color, from skin contact.
Now here’s where it gets fun:
A white wine drinker looking for their favorite flavor profile tries a glass of red wine. The heavy phenol flavors are so strong that they cannot drink through them to find the acid/ester flavors that they like. They become disappointed so they go back to white wine.
White Drinker –>Try Red Wine –> Likes Acid/Ester Flavors –>Find Phenols –>Sad
A red wine drinker seeking phenol flavors tries a glass of white wine. This drinker is instantly disappointed since no substantial amount of skin/tannin particles exists in this style of wine. White wine production methods typically separate the juice from the skins as soon as possible. They become bummed so they grab a glass of red.
Red Drinker –>Try White Wine –>Likes Phenols –>Find Acid/Ester Flavor –>Sad
Now – how can we get these two people to enjoy the same bottle? We can blend red and white wine! We can take red skinned grapes and produce it in a white wine style! Finally, we can take a break during the process of making our big, bold reds and bleed some of the juice off, also called saignée!
Wine Drinker –>Try Rosé Wine –>Find Acid/Ester/Phenols –>Very Happy
This is just a very brief over-view of the difference between the enjoyments of drinking red/white wine vs. rosé. There is much more to this topic but I felt the basic information about WHY we like the white or red wines is important.
One final note: wine reflects the people! So if you like Shiraz, then drink rosé from Australia. If you like Bordeaux, then drink Bordeaux rosé. If it’s Pinot Noir that you enjoy – a wonderful vin gris or Pinot rosé is the wine for you. Follow the grape, region or country of the red wines that you like. If you like the reds, I guarantee you’ll enjoy the rosés!