Underdog Wine Co.’s Ryan Sciara provides a quick primer for the once-maligned pink-hued wine that’s now cool to drink.
Story by Ryan Sciara
It’s springtime, which marks the official start of rosé season, that light- to medium-bodied wine that aficionados used to hide when friends came over for cocktail hour.
True—it wasn’t long ago when you would get a sideways glance for drinking pink wine. Thankfully we have distanced ourselves from those days—now it seems everyone is drinking rosé, including people who once pooh-poohed it. In fact, rosé sales have soared over the past 10 years, taking the wine from trendy to something with staying power.
Rosé comes in a beautiful spectrum of colors, from the pale peach and salmon to the electric pink. Flavors vary from the soft and peachy-citrusy to the deep and rich cherry-berry. In general, rosé wines are meant to be drunk right away, not intended for the aging process.
At its most basic description, rosé is produced from red grapes that see just a short time of skin contact during fermentation (anywhere from a couple of hours to a little over a day). Depending upon the length of maceration time during which the clear juice remains in contact with the dark skins, the rosé’s color can range from a pale touch of blush to a brilliant, translucent ruby red.
The saignée method for making rosé is also common and involves bleeding off a small portion of the juice during red wine production, resulting in a very concentrated version of rosé.
Rosé can also be made by blending white wine with red wine (as in rosé Champagne production), or by a whole cluster pressing, but these methods are much less common.
Here are six of my favorite rosé wines.
Red Car Winery – Sonoma Coast, California
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Aroma: strawberry, honeydew, orange
Palate: bright raspberry, strawberry, ruby red grapefruit, bing cherry, tangerine oil
Body: light to medium
Finish: long and clean, fresh red fruits, intense citrus
Scaia – Veneto, Italy
Aroma: strawberry, white peach, rose petal
Palate: fresh strawberry, watermelon, honeydew, orange
Finish: fresh and juicy, lengthy red fruit and spice
Miraval – Cotes de Provence, France
Varietals: Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino)
Aroma: floral, white peach, raspberry
Palate: layers of fresh raspberry and strawberry, fresh herbs, peach skin, minerals
Finish: round, long and vibrant, mixed berries, cream
Chateau Montaud – Cotes de Provence, France
Varietals: Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Carignan, Tibouren
Aroma: peachy-orange, watermelon, herbs
Palate: juicy white peach, honeydew, watermelon, cranberry, tangerine
Finish: light & clean, juicy strawberry, bright acidity
Shane Wine – Sonoma County, California
Varietals: Syrah, Grenache
Aroma: wild strawberry, blood orange, pomegranate
Palate: raspberries, orange blossom, black cherry, grapefruit skin
Finish: tart, hints of sour cherry, pomegranate and spice
Charles Smith Wine “Vino” – Columbia Valley, Washington
Aroma: cherries, strawberries, savory herbs
Palate: juicy red currant, cherry pit, raspberry, orange oil
Finish: bright and crisp, soft and juicy red fruits, stony minerals
Ryan Sciara is the heart and hustle of Underdog Wine Co., a delightful boutique wine store in the Crestwood Shops in Kansas City, Missouri. His passion for good wine is legendary, as is his ability to match clients with the perfect sip. For more information, visit underdogwinekc.com.