Often derided

Roses are white wines with red-berry attitude


Often subjected to derision and defamation of their vinous character, Rosé wines are made all over the world.

French Rosés from Provence along the Mediterranean coast are best known.  Outside of Provence – but still in the south of France – winemakers in neighbouring regions manage to make great Rosés at a fraction of the price.

The cuvée of Les Soleillades Rosé (320069) $15.99 is a selection of the best fruit from the Coteaux d’Aix en Provence – a blend of 50 per cent Grenache, 40 per cent Cinsault and 10 per cent Syrah. With its bright, light pink colour and subtle fruity aromas, it tastes of crisp watermelon and delicate strawberries with a citrus twist over a delicious raspberry base.

Rosés can be made by mixing white wine grapes and red wine grapes and co-fermenting them together. In some regions Rosés are traditionally made by blending semi-finished red wines and white wines.

Other winemakers leave fermenting red wine grapes in contact with the grape skins for a very short time, until the developing alcohol strips some pink colour from the dark purple skins, then press off the pink juice.

From their vineyards just north of Duncan on Vancouver Island and made from 100 per cent Pinot Noir wine grapes Averill Creek Somenos Rose (207407) $16.90 exudes aromas of sweet strawberries, rose petal and watermelon. Bright and crisp on the palate with ripe red berry & juicy peach flavours, it finishes with a splash of lemon and grapefruit peel.

Think of Rosés as white wines with a serious case of red-berry attitude. Try them with a full range of different cuisines. While many benefit from some chilling, a sweat-frosted bottle usually means the Rosé in question is a little too cold to really flash its subtle fruit flavours!

Refosco is a very old family of dark-skinned grape varieties native to the Venetian zone and neighbouring areas of Friuli, Gavi, Trentino, Istria, and Karst Plateau. Made from 100 per cent Refosco Masi Rosa dei Masi (764068) $17.99 has aromas of wild strawberries and some cinnamon spice. Pretty, with some rose petal notes.

A small proportion of the grapes are dried using the appasimento method to concentrate the wine’s acidity and freshness.

Most wine lovers have all kinds of strange hang-ups when it comes to even trying – never mind actually appreciating and enjoying – Rosés. Neither white nor red, Rosés straddle the wine and food pairing lines quite magnificently.

From New Zealand’s Marlborough region The Ned Rose (743864) $18.55 leads with a classic bouquet of red berries and cream, enriched by a broader element of tree-ripened persimmon with high toned, rose-tinged notes. The palate is neatly rounded, with a fleshy mouthful with that same creamy, summer berry fruits running through its core – all neatly balance with bright, crisp acidity.

Here in British Columbia we have the perfect climate for producing bright and sassy and seriously concentrated Rosés.  There are so many that it’s difficult to know quite where to start.  Averill Creek is not the only producer of elegant Vancouver Island wines.

The long-awaited release of the new vintage of incredibly interesting and fascinatingly unique wines from 40 Knots Estate Winery at 2400 Anderton Road, just outside of Comox, on the route to the Powell River ferry, included their Rosé.

A crowd pleasing pink wine, 40 Knots Rosé (81943) $19.99 is a blend of Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir is destemmed and rested on skins for 24 hours for a delicate salmon colour. The aromas of bright red berry fruits with a touch of spice explode on the palate, overlapping a lush, dense mid palate, balanced by zesty acidity.

Committed to organic practices, Sage Hills Vineyard is situated on a dramatic slope overlooking Okanagan Lake in Summerland, BC. The terrain is harsh and dry, with thorny cacti and thatches of fragrant sagebrush on the surrounding hills watching over the vineyards.

Sage Hills Syrah Rosé (749325) $29.35 is made from 100 per cent organic Syrah grapes and harvested at 3.1 tonnes per acre for cleanly concentrated aromas and flavours. Very much an homage to the pink wines of Provence, France this off-dry Syrah Rosé has a rich and dusty flavours with a touch of peppery spice and the irresistible scent of homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie.



Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com


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