Living in Geneva in the summer, most picnic blankets hold at least one bottle of rosé.
Being Americans, to us, pink generally = boxed wine. So, this prevalence of pink wine was a surprise to us our first summer. However, it didn’t take long to adapt to the European phenomenon of rosé.
Far different from its cheap boxed distant cousin, the rosés of France are complex and a national treasure. We got more of an education during our trips to Southern France, both in les Alpilles and the Tavel region.
In fact, Fabrice of Domaine de la Mordorée, in Tavel, told us when wine critic Bob Parker rated their rosé ‘the best in the world,’ he was insulted as it is in his opinion ‘the best in the Universe’.
Rosés are made with red grapes. There are a few methods of making rosé:
- Saignée, or bleeding, is achieved when the weight of the grapes do the pressing. The skins are left in only for a brief time. Because the juices don’t have a lengthy contact with the skins, the result is a light and juicy flavored rosé.
- Skin contact methods are used when the red skins are used to achieve ideal color, after which, they are removed and the rosé continues to ferment without the skins
- Blending methods (or run-offs) is when the juice from the red is used, along with the white juice, making a more opaque rosé. This shortcut technique is practically illegal in France.
The rosés are a French favorite. Reading Of Wine And War, when I got to the chapter about the Americans and French taking back the French countryside, I couldn’t help but chuckle at this part:
“Their job was vital, said Monsabert of his American allies, “but the vinously minded historian will note that it did not take them near a single vineyard of quality. Now follow the advance of the French army. Swiftly they possessed themselves of Tavel, and after making sure all was well with one of the finest vin rosés in France, struck fiercly for Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
While rosé hasn’t become my favorite French wine, I certainly am glad for getting more exposure to it during our time in Europe.