What Do You Really Know About Rosé Wine?

By Madeline Blasberg, Staff Writer
Etching Expressions
(Custom Etched Wine Bottles)

When it comes to rosé wine, some wine lovers embrace the refreshing, light-bodied fruitiness and elegant salmon hues … while others shiver at the thought of mass-produced, numbingly sweet grape juice that hardly deserves to sit on the shelf with “real wine.”rosé_wine
Since the 1970s, rosé wine has earned both accolades and adversaries in the U.S., but surprisingly, neither side knows all that much about what rosé wine is or where it comes from.

Rosé wine goes by many names:

  • rosado in Portugal
  • rosato in Spain
  • rosé in the U.S. and France
  • blush or pink wine everywhere in-between

Whatever its name, rosés serve a particularly special role in wineries around the world. After the grape harvest, rosés are generally the first wines out the door and off to market. Most are ready to drink in as little as four months after harvest, and are generally at their most delicious within the first year. This means that while winemakers focus on producing and aging reds and whites, rosé wines can clear out space and generate much needed revenue for the winery.

However, before bottles of this pink potion head to market, they have to be skillfully made in one of two ways. These two basic recipes for producing rosé wine come down to one thing: skin contact. A grape’s skin contains all kind of chemical compounds, including color pigment. As the skins and juice remain in contact with one another (a process known as maceration), the skin stains the juice with yellow or red hues. The longer the contact, the deeper the stain. The two processes for making rosé wine come down to how this color staining takes place.

In the first process, known as saignée (French for bleeding), rosé wine is taken away from a bigger batch of red wine. The grape juice and grape solids hang out in a tank together before fermentation begins, allowing color and aromas to be extracted from the solid grape bits – a period that can range from a few hours up to a couple days. Winemakers then drain away (bleed off) some liquid, which concentrates the red wine and allows for the rosé wine to be fermented separately.

The second process is known as vin gris (meaning gray wine). In vin gris, grapes are picked especially to make rosé wine and are produced in the same way as white wine – straight to the press, the solids are discarded, and the liquid is fermented. In this case the liquids and solids have very little contact with each other, which is why these rosés tend to be quite pale in color.

A common misconception is that rosé wines are the resulting cocktail of red and white wines mixed together. In general, that’s not the case although some adventurous winemakers are experimenting with breaking this rule.

Rosé wines can be fermented and/or aged in oak barrels; however, generally speaking, this is not what consumers prefer. More often they are fermented at cold temperatures in neutral vessels, which helps to preserve the inherent refreshing fruitiness.

They can be made from any one red grape, or be a blend of several red varieties, and may range from bone dry to dessert sweet. In fact, some cheap rosés taste bizarrely similar to Jolly Rancher candies and are so sweet they make your teeth ache! Middle to upper-shelf dry rosés tend to be a much safer bet.

All in all, rosés tend to be refreshing, easy-drinking, inexpensive, low alcohol, and fruit-forward. Common aromas include raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, and even herbs.

When in doubt about what rosé wine to reach for, keep these tips in mind:

  • Look for something from Provence. The Provence region of France is particularly recognized for making rocking rosé wines at a variety of price points.
  • Since rosé wines are relatively cheap to produce (and mostly underappreciated), you can get a delicious bottle for around $15 (excellent news for your wallet).
  • Choose “New World” rosés – including those from the USA and Australia – as they tend to be more fruit forward and fuller-bodied than their Old World counterpoints.
  • Always make sure you know if you’re buying sweet or dry rosé before heading to the checkout counter.

(photo credit: 24thcentury via photopin cc)

Traveling For Wine

By: Claire Allen, Freelance Writer

Many wine aficionados take up the challenge of building their own home wine cellar and deciding which types of grape to buy and lay down to be enjoyed in the future. In most cases, this will be a case of buying carefully from a wine store or supermarket, or perhaps even making trips to a neighborhood vineyard if you are lucky enough to have one.

Winery and vineyardHowever, the most exciting way of building up a collection is to travel to top wine-producing regions on holiday, and bring back souvenirs which you can drink in the future – instantly bringing back memories of the sunshine and beautiful landscapes which went to create the unique mix of flavors.

Wine tourism is growing in importance internationally, and, as a result, an increasing number of vineyards and wineries around the world are now opening their doors to the public. Here are suggestions about what to see in a few of the most popular regions.

Napa Valley, California

California is not only the top wine region in the US, but one of the world’s leading producers. Wine has been made here since the 19th century, but its international reputation has soared in the last 50 years, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay being the most widely-planted grapes. Wine tourism is a way of life here, with up to five million people arriving annually, and special events such as grape stomps being staged during the harvest season. The Napa Valley alone has an estimated 450 wineries, so you can only hope to take in a few of them during a visit. Among the most popular destinations is the Beringer Winery, the oldest-established wine-maker in the valley. It dates back to the 1870s and has been named as a State Historical Landmark. Visitors can take part in public tours and tastings.

Barossa Valley, Australia

Australian wines’ fame has grown steadily over recent decades, with South Australia, and especially the Barossa Valley, winning worldwide recognition. The full-bodied red Barossa Shiraz is the most celebrated wine from this region, although plenty of whites are made here too, and the Sémillon in particular has won acclaim. Around 750 grape-growers are based in the valley, and attractions to visit include the Château Tanunda, a magnificent castle dating from the 1890s. Here you can explore the vineyards and gardens, as well as sampling the award-winning wines.

Bordeaux, France

France has many famous wine regions, including Champagne, Burgundy and the Loire Valley, all packed with attractions for sightseers. However, the largest wine-growing area of them all is Bordeaux, which has vineyards covering more than 450 square miles, including 60 different wine appellations. Almost 90% of the wine produced here is red, and the region is most famed for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. There are many different wineries and vineyards which are open for visits. Areas not to be missed include St Emilion and Bordeaux itself. One of the most famous wineries is Château Pichon-Longueville at Paulliac, which is open every day by appointment.

Wine Tourism Trends

With the growth of culinary appreciation and tourism, one study suggests that more than 27 million people from the US alone take part in activities related to food and wine during their holidays, including trips both at home and abroad. This large number of tourists varies from people who book a whole holiday on a wine theme, such as a trip to wineries in California or France’s Bordeaux region, to those who decide on a quick vineyard visit when they spot a signboard near their hotel. Another increasingly popular choice for holiday-makers keen to learn more about the world’s great wines in style is to go on a sea voyage of discovery. Taking part in a gourmet-themed cruise gives travelers the chance to combine a visit to a leading wine-producing region with expert tasting sessions, as well as cookery lessons from Cordon Bleu chefs. Walking or cycling tours of vineyard regions are also in demand, as a way of seeing as area at a more leisurely pace.

It seems likely that wine-themed tourism will continue to grow in popularity as travelers look for something different, and more wineries and vineyards around the world continue to open their doors to the public for tours and tastings.

How to Make Wine

So you’ve decided you want to make your own wine — but you have little to no idea where to start! Here are some resources to help get you started.

How to Make Your Own Wine — Learn how to do it right the first time from someone who’s been making homemade wine for over 30 years. FREE eBook!

Home Wine Making in Seven Easy Steps — A 64 minute interactive DVD showing the seven easy steps to making excellent wine at home using equipment found either in the home or readily available at your local wine making supply store.

The Wine Maker’s Answer Book — A friendly question-and-answer format to explain the mysteries of turning grape juice into wine. From the basic curiosity of the novice to the finer points of fermentation, each step is covered in detail.

Home Wine Making Step by Step — Recommended by professional winemaker who started making wine at home and now has his own small vineyard. Very user-friendly. Detailed information on equipment, supplies, and how to find a source for good grapes.

How to Make Perfect Wines (& Spirits) From Home — Learn how to make wine and spirits so incredibly flavorful and delightful that no one can resist a second glass — right from the comfort of your own home. This is a FREE eBook!

Wine and Your Health

It is said that as far back as 450 BCE, the Greek physician Hippocrates recommended wine to combat fever, disinfect wounds, and provide nutritional supplements.

In the intervening years, research has provided ample evidence of the truth in Hippocrates’ early observations. In fact, since the 1970s, many studies have concluded that moderate intake of red wine does indeed have salutary health effects, although the exact reasons are still debated.

Red wine consumption helps prevent coronary disease and possibly some forms of cancer due to a class of compounds known as catechins (flavanoids). Like resveratrol, which aids grapes in fighting fungal infections, they act as anti-oxidants and anti-coagulants. It has been found that anti-oxidants remove free radicals — ionized oxygen atoms in the blood that are known to cause cellular damage.

A recent study in the American Journal of Physiology indicates that resveratrol also inhibits the formation of a protein that reduces the heart’s pumping efficiency during stress.

Other studies suggest that red wine can raise HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ kind) and discourage LDL (the ‘bad’ kind) from forming.

Another benefit is that most of the pathogens that threaten humans are inhibited or killed by the acids and ethanol in wine. (This was probably why, prior to the mid-18th century, wine was safer to drink than water.)

Further, according to a American Journal of Gastroenterology study in 2003, moderate wine consumption decreases the risk of peptic ulcers, possibly by ridding the body of the bacteria which causes them.

Even diabetes occurrence may be reduced by moderate (one or two drinks per day) wine consumption, says a 14-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 100,000 women. The study concluded the particpants had a 58% lower likelihood of developing the disease. The exceptions were pre-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer. This group should not consume any alcohol.

Of course, there are always risks and exceptions. Many wines contain sulfites, to which a small percentage of the population is sensitive. And wine, though absent fat and cholesterol, does contain sugars and small quantities of sodium and, of course, alcohol. It doesn’t take much to become too much.

Also, anyone with digestive tract disorders, liver disease, or kidney problems — along with a slew of other ailments — would not be doing themselves any favors by drinking wine.

Of course, we can’t forget the well-known effects of overindulgence — not only the familiar hangover, but even liver damage in the long run. And, pairing wine with drugs, even normally beneficial ones such as aspirin or acetaminophen, is a recipe for disaster.

These are just a few of the benefits and risks that go along with drinking wine. If you are really concerned about health issues, you need to do your own research. There are numerous studies that have been done and more are being carried out on a regular basis.

Probably the best advice, as in all areas of life, is to exercise moderation.

Now go have a glass of wine and contemplate what you have just read.

How to Make Perfect Wine (& Spirits) From Home

If you have ever wanted to experience the pleasure, satisfaction and prestige that comes with making your own outstanding wine, then this eBook is for you. And the best part? It’s FREE!

How to Make Perfect Wine (and Spirits) From Home

How to Make Perfect Wines & Spirits from Home

Dear Fellow Wine Lover,

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own wine or spirits? Great News! This eBook is the ultimate resource for you.

Whether you’re a complete newbie or you already have a little experience making wine, you’ll find plenty of how-to information, tutorials, recipes, and inside secrets to make the perfect wine — in your own home.

You’ll even learn how you can create your very own unique, signature wine that is unavailable anywhere else in the world!

This eBook literally takes you by the hand and explains everything to need to know to create the perfect wine in exactly the flavor you want.

In short, if you love the thought of making perfect, flavorsome wine of all varieties then you’ll find this eBook priceless.

MAKING WINE FROM HOME IS EASY

You may think making wine from home is hard, right? Far from it. In fact, when you apply the simple steps in this eBook, making delicious wines that your house-guests just can’t get enough of is amazingly simple.

Not only is it so easy that even a child could do it (which, of course, is not recommended), but it is also very inexpensive because no special equipment or knowledge is required — other than what’s in this eBook. You could get started within the next 5 minutes!

The secret, simple do-at-home procedures that you will discover have been used for years and been proven to consistently produce outstanding wines and spirits — all done from home with the same ingredients and equipment that almost every kitchen already has.

You could, of course, try and start without this knowledge … without the huge database of recipes and tutorials … without the proven tips and tricks that only a handful of people know … but why?

It’s far faster and easier to use the step-by-step instructions and winning techniques in this eBook — knowing you have all the information you need to produce outstanding results.

LOOK WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THIS EBOOK:

  • The basics of making wine at home — exactly what you need to get started, including a complete introduction for newbies who have never tried to make wine before.
  • The essentials of home wine-making and how applying some little-known secrets can transform your home wine from “nice” to “incredible.”
  • The common utensils and equipment to use (you’ll almost certainly have these at home).
  • In-depth tutorials on the art of fermentation, fermentation aids, the clearing process, sterilization, siphoning, bottling, how to store the developing wine, maturing, all about yeast, and much, much more.
  • The “natural enemies” to successful wine-making from home and how to stop them dead in their tracks.
  • Over 90 step-by-step recipes and tutorials on making the wine or liquor that you want to make — you won’t find this depth of information anywhere else.
  • The common ingredients available at home that can be used when you can’t find the special ingredients that some wines (supposedly) require.

MAKING WINE OR SPIRITS FROM HOME CAN SAVE YOU MONEY

You won’t believe how inexpensive it is to actually make your own alcohol! You will find you can save a LOT of money by creating your own fine wines and spirits at home.

Not only that, making your own delicious wines brings with it a status of prestige and creativity. Think about it — there is nothing quite like the warm feeling of watching family & friends enjoying the wine or liquor that you have created, seeing them reach for that last bottle and help themselves to another delightful glass of your creation.

LOOK WHAT ELSE …

Here’s just a sample of the type of wine/liquor recipes & tutorials that come with this amazing package:

  • 6 easy-to-follow recipes for making wine from grapes
  • Tips on creating your very own signature wine
  • 32 berry wine recipes
  • 20 recipes for making wine from extracts
  • 4 techniques and recipes for making wine from citrus fruits
  • 10 in-depth recipes for making perfect flower wines
  • 8 easy, make-it-now recipes (and tutorial) on making wine from dried herbs
  • Recipes and tutorials for creating stunning wines from dried fruits and grains
  • Several recipes and tutorials on creating liquors
  • A special BONUS section on creating wines that are a hit with the ladies

No other book gives amateur wine-makers this level of high impact information, tutorials, recipes, and step-by-step procedures and techniques to create superb home-made wines & liquors.

So you probably think all this information is going to cost you a pretty penny. Well, you would be wrong! We want this book to be available to everyone who wants it so you get this complete eBook for F.R.E.E. 

By the way, it’s in PDF format so you can download it to any PC, Mac, phone, or tablet.

CLICK HERE to download: PerfectWineMaking

Here’s to your wine-making success!

Pairing Wine and Food

Many believe the dining experience is greatly enhanced by the addition of a good glass of wine. But it needs to be the right wine. Listed below are some resources for learning how to pair wine with food (and vice versa).

Suggested books:

Another great resource is the Wine and Food Matching Wheel.

You may also want to visit this website for some ideas. Be sure to check out their Wine Board where you select from 10 food choices and the board will do the rest.

Some tips to remember when pairing food and wine:

  • Focus on the characteristics of the wine. Make sure it doesn’t “fight” with the food.
  • Don’t pair bitter food and high tannin wine.
  • As a general rule, make sure the wine is sweeter than the food (e.g., port wine and dessert).
  • Be sure the wine has a higher acidity than the food or it will taste “flabby.”

Ever tried pairing wine with chocolate? It can be a real treat. Click here to learn more.

Cheese and wine just seem to go together. To learn what cheeses go with what wines, visit this page.

Many choose champagne as their wine of choice when dining on certain foods. Learn more here.

Throw a Blind Wine-Tasting Party!

Looking for a fun way to entertain your wine-loving friends? Get them together for a blind wine-tasting party! No, you don’t blindfold your guests — but you do conceal the identity of the wines by placing them into paper bags so your guests won’t know what wine they’re tasting. It’s a great way to try different wines and have fun while doing it!

Here’s what you will need:

  • A wine glass for each guest.
  • Paper bags to cover the wine bottles.
  •  Wine Rating Sheet for each guest.
  • Tasting note guide (see this page).
  • Wine charms (optional).

Or you can purchase a Ready-Made Blind-Tasting Kit.

Of course, you will need wine. Smiley

You may choose whatever blind tasting theme you wish (use your imagination), but one of the most popular is to use wines of the same varietal (Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, etc.). Once you’ve decided on the varietal, buy six bottles of that varietal from six different wineries. Wrap the bottles and identify the bags with numbers or letters.

Give each guest a wine glass and a scoring sheet. As they sample each wine, ask them to rate the wine using the parameters on the scoring sheet.

At the end of the blind tasting, gather up the wine scoring sheets and determine which wine was the most popular.

A modification of this theme is to choose wines from different areas/countries or with different prices. Other themes would be to use all reds or all whites.

TIPS:

  • Always be sure the wines are at the optimal serving temperature.
  • If you can, avoid using paper or plastic cups. Regular wine glasses are superior because you can hold the glass by the stem and swirl the wine without spilling.
  • Have finger food on hand to help cleanse the pallet between tastings — something that will not overshadow the wines. Bland crackers are a good choice.
  • Have a pitcher of water and a water bucket available so guests can rinse their glass after each taste.
  • Depending on your theme, organize the wine tasting so your guests move from whites to reds, from sweet to dry, and from light-bodied to full-bodied reds.
  • Six to eight people is the optimal number of guests.
  • Ask your guests not to wear perfume or to smoke because these odors may interfere with the aroma of the wine itself.