After a cold and rainy spring, summer wine season is upon us, the beautiful time of year when we can sit outside with a chilled glass of sauvignon blanc, pinot gris or chardonnay and enjoy their light and fruity flavors in the heat.
Once overlooked, the summer wine that has seen increasing popularity in recent years is rosé. For many beginning wine drinkers, they might not realize that the white zinfandel they started with is in fact a rosé.
While most rosé is not that sweet, the grape selection and style of processing will have a major impact on the flavors and tones in your glass.
There is some confusion out there that rosé is made from blending white and red wines. Most wine makers use one varietal of red grape, but there are some blends out there that are good, too. In Spokane, most of our winemakers use one varietal.
What gives rosé its distinct pink hue is the process the wine maker uses. Rosé starts with the grape of a red such as sangiovese, syrah, zinfandel or tempranillo. After crushing, the winemaker will let the juice and skins soak together for a relatively short one to three days until they get the desired pink color.
Winescape on the South Hill recently won Double Gold for its 2019 Rose of Sangiovese at the Cascadia International Wine Competition. Winescape’s sangiovese grapes are handpicked from the Kiona Ranch in the Red Mountain AVA.
Winemakers Phil and Pat Butterfield selected special yeast and nutrients from France to create their classic French-style rosé. Their production facility and tasting room just off Glenrose on 32nd is a perfect farm-like setting to enjoy a glass of wine.
Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is currently offering its award-winning 2019 Tahija Sangiovese Rosé in its tasting room on Knox Avenue in Liberty Lake. Winemakers Mark and Sarah Lathrop source their sangiovese grapes from Candy Mountain in the Yakima AVA.
Their light pink rosé evokes strong notes of green apple and has hints of grapefruit and pomegranate. They offer a sparkling version, as well.
Townshend Cellars in Green Bluff is currently offering its 2019 Rosé of Sangiovese. If you have not been up to this tasting room, it a peaceful place to enjoy a glass of wine.
Townshend sources its sangiovese grapes from the Jim Willard Vineyard in Prosser. This deep salmon color rosé offers notes of ripe berries and citrus.
Rosé in addition to being a refreshing summer wine pairs well with seafood, salads, fruits and bruschetta. Ideally serve rosé chilled slightly above 50 degrees. If it is too cold, it will mute the flavors. Enjoy!
Michael Allen is the former director of Spokane’s Cork District.
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