WINE O’CLOCK: A rosé by any other name may taste too sweet
SUMMER may be coming in but it’s taking its time about it. Still, the sun did put in an appearance last week. It was brief but enough to tempt me into the garden, to open a bottle of wine, and think about cleaning down the barbie or, maybe, cutting the grass.
It is unwise, though, to be hasty where Irish weather is concerned. So I had another glass of wine. The barbie can wait – and a lawn full of dandelions is good for the bees, I am told.
Rosé is popular for summer sipping. Wine snobs tend to turn up their noses at it but the problem is not with rosé as such, but with some of the cheap, sugary products that go by that name.
Rosé isn’t from a specific region and it is made from a range of grapes including Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
To find your favourite, you need to try a few. Don’t forget the versions from Spain, where it is called roasado, and Italy, where it is rosato. California also produces a lot of rosé, where it is often called blush. I am told some are very good but any I have tried are too sweet.
Rosé is produced by allowing the skin of dark grapes to stay in contact with the juice for a short time. The longer the contact the darker the rosé.
Some rosé makers blend white and red wines. It may look at the part but it does not taste the same.
A good example of the Italian product is Catarratto Pinot Grigio Dandolo (€10 Dunnes), very light in look and taste, a lovely summery drink.
If you want to move a little to dark side, try Maria Casanovas Pinot Noir Rosado, a sparkling pink cava. This Spanish offering has Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir in its blend and is more complex than most rosés, with a creamy texture and summer fruit flavours. You’ll pay for this luxury, though – around €30 from independent dealers.
For me, the best rosé comes from the south of France. For Provence in a glass, try L’Ostal from the Languedoc (€15.45 O’Briens).