We’re ready for another round with rosé, and this time around pink wines made in the United States are the focus.
A few things first:
Rosé can be made from any red grape, and white grapes can be in the mix as well. Some red grapes must be used as it is the pigmentation in their skin that adds color.
As a rule, rosé is best when consumed within a couple of years of the vintage. Most people like rosé that is fresh and vibrant. A few can become more interesting over time, but they are usually expensive and rosé that is meant for aging is an acquired taste.
Rosé can be made using three methods: blending, skin contact and saignée. Blending is simply mixing red and white wine together. The latter two processes are used for higher-quality wines. A brief maceration (when the crushed berries sit on the skins) adds limited color to the wine. The saignée method involves a process called bleeding where juice is removed from a red wine during the early part of fermentation so the red wine has more color and tannin (from its skin). The bi-product is rosé.
Many winemakers will tell you they prefer one method to the other for a variety of reasons. Now that you have a quick rosé 101, here are three domestic bottles worth a try.
Meyer Family Dry Rosé of Syrah, 2011 (Yorkville Highland): Meyer Family Vineyard is an offshoot of the extremely famous Silver Oak Winery. Silver Oak was started by Justin and Bonnie Meyer in 1982, and their son Matt and his wife, Karen, released their first vintage of Meyer Family in 2003. Fermented and aged in French oak for four months, this is a fairly full-bodied rosé with rhubarb and a tart lemon juice finish. Suggested retail: $18 ($14.40 with winery club membership)
Anglim Rosé, 2010 (Paso Robles): Anglim is owned and run in downtown Paso Robles by Steve and Steffanie Anglim. A new producer, they are focused on syrah, but also make white and red wines predominantly using other Rhône grapes. This rosé is a scrumptious blend of grenache, mourvedre, syrah and viognier that has fragrant notes of stone fruits and berries, a drop of spice and rose petals. Available at Castro Village Wines. Suggested retail: $15
Bliss Rosé, 2011 (Mendocino County): Bliss is Brutocao’s second label and they make some very pretty and well-priced wines under this name. Made entirely from estate-grown merlot, this wine has personality in that it truly tastes as the grape should, with plums and hints of black olives. For now, it is available through the winery, but will be sold in Bay Area retailers over the summer. To order or for more information, call (707) 744-1066. Suggested retail: $12
Pamela Busch was the founding partner of Hayes and Vine and CAV Wine Bars, and is a wine educator and writer.