In her latest column on wines, Debbie Barker of the Bowdoin Class of 1980, describes the appeal of rosÃ© as a choice for summer.
One of the fun new trends in summer is drinking rosÃ© wines. This season is about trying new regions, new grapes, and new light flavors. Today’s rosÃ©s are refreshing but have depth, and, yes, I’ll admit it, the color alone can bring a smile to your face! They are sophisticated and unexpected-think the crispness of sauvignon blanc with a hint of the body of a red wine. The best rosÃ©s come from warmer climates, like Provence in France and northern California.
In the 1970s the “go-to” rosÃ© wines were Mateus and Lancers-remember the unusually shaped bottles? They tasted sweet and thin, and you could buy them for about the price of bread in the supermarket. Don’t forget the trend for “blush” zinfandels in the 90s”¦quite thin and bodiless. Okay, so forget those trends! Today’s rosÃ©s are refined enough to work well as an aperitif, and to continue on through a meal of fresh summer fare. A couple of my favorites are Elisabeth Spencer Syrah RosÃ© from Sonoma and Domaine du Dragon CÃ´tes de Provence.
The grape used to make rosÃ©s is red-the varietals can be as light as the grenache grape, or as heavy as the syrah. To attain the lovely pink color, the crush is done after harvest, and the dark grape skins are left in the crush for half a day before the white wine making process begins. Alternatively, a small amount of red wine can be added to the white wine during the winemaking process, but this process generates wines which lack the depth of flavor of the first process. And the best news? The prices are right! You can experiment with rosÃ©s and find that you don’t need to spend more than $20 a bottle”¦SantÃ©!