The No. 1 selling wine in America for the last couple of decades has been white zinfandel. If you are like me, that fact makes you cringe.
First things first: Blush is not a wine category. Blush is a marketing term used for pink wine that is, typically, low quality.
A large American producer used the term to describe a pink wine blend that was made from the dregs of both white and red wine years ago. It was going to be wasted, so why not make a dollar from it? They labeled it “blush” and sold the pink swill to the over-consuming American population.
From there, white zinfandel was born in a slightly sweeter version of barely higher quality. As the palate of the American wine drinker shifted to the sweet side, the cheap, pink and sweet stuff took a front seat in sales.
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Rosé wine, on the other hand, has been made since the inception of wine. Many people believe that the red wine of ancient times probably looked more like rose due to wine-making techniques. The deep, dark colored reds took their life once longer macerations and harder pressing techniques were adopted. Rosé is not a waste product. It is made of good juice and on purpose.
Pink wine has gotten a bad rap due to the vast popularity of the sticky sweet pink stuff. Not only has white zinfandel tainted the pink wine category, but it has ruined one of the best summer wines of all time.
Rosé wine varies from pale pink to light purple in color. The lighter color of the wine is attributed to the amount of time the skin of the grape has contact with the wine itself. Just a little time to give this wine the pink color.
Whereas white zinfandel is made as a by-product of traditional zinfandel in a sense, rosé is actually its own wine category. It is made intentionally. France produces some of the world’s best rosé wines, but Spain and Italy also do a fine job.
Here is the catch. Most of these wines are dry. Bone dry. Which means it contradicts everything you know about pink wine.
In fact, the biggest obstacle I had when I started loving rosé was the color. My brain struggled with seeing the color of the wine and then tasting a dry wine. My brain almost willed the wine to be sweet. It took at least three bottles one afternoon to wrap my brain around the brilliance that is rosé. (At least I think it was only three bottles.)
Rosé is meant to be served chilled, just like a white wine. The flavors vary depending on the grape that is used, but most are light and fruity.
Please note that “fruity” and “sweet” are not the same. A wine can be fruity and dry, which is the opposite of sweet. Or a wine can be fruity and sweet. Rosé, in general, is fruity and dry.
Mostly, it pairs well with shellfish, seafood and even some poultry or more hearty dishes. Oddly, yet delightfully, rosé is great with garlic and garlicky sauces. Italian and Mediterranean food is a great match for the chilly pink wine.
One of my fondest food memories is sitting in the sidewalk cafes of New York City with a shellfish chateau sipping a bottle of rosé at the first sign of spring.
Rosé ranges in quality just like any other wine. For the most part, the pink wine is hard to come by in the winter months, but surges in availability in the summer season. That has more to do with sales than availability and quality. Rosé is available year round in some fine labels.
I am a big fan of drinking what you like, unless you like white zinfandel or blush. In which case I would say that you should try some real flavors in wine. While the shift from pink wine to pink wine might seem natural, it does not translate in this case. A dry rosé may leave you disappointed.
If you love chardonnay, pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc, rosé will, most likely, serve you well. Once you get past the color and what you expect that color to taste like, you will find a balanced, crisp and fruity wine below the surface.
If you are a red wine person, you probably love food as well, which means you just need the right pairing to find your appreciation for rosé. Use the suggestions I mentioned above as a starting point.
Serious wine folks can enjoy red, white, sparkling and rosé. The utilized in Myrtle Beach is rosé. We can change that this summer and into the fall.