Friday, May 3, 2013

Straight talk

Wine tasting can seem like just a lot of speculation, a lot of waxing poetic on your behalf and waning interest on behalf of your companions. And it doesn't help that wine labels are printed in what may as well be code in most cases. European wines especially are incredibly difficult to decipher. They never tell you the grape, they have all sorts of levels of regions, and they have the audacity to use languages other than English.

So you can imagine my delight when I took this French rose (Saint Roch Les Vignes 2012) out of the fridge and saw this forthright label on the back:

That is chill as fuck. And this wine was as chill and straightforward as its business on the back. Not all wine has to be complex, just like not all boyfriends need to be marriage material. Sometimes it's fun to drink a simple rose. It's like dating a guy in a band.

People often assume rose wines will be sweet because they're pink. And while White Zinfandel with lots of residual sugar is common, most rose wines are tart and dry and ultra-refreshing. All they are are red grapes made in the style of white wine. This means the juice is not fermented on the skins (which is how red wines get their rich color and higher tannins). Any red grapes can be used, and this, not sweetness, is what determines the color pink the wine turns out. Syrah will yield a brilliant magenta, while Pinot Noir a delicate ballet slipper pink. "Blanc de noirs" refers to white sparkling wine made from red grapes, but roses, and sparkling roses, will do a cold soak before separating off the skins from the juice to give extra aromatics and a splash of pink.

This wine was a charming salmon color. Not too complex, it smelled floral, like perfume or honeysuckle, with bursts of citrus, chiefly lime, wet stone and white peach. It's not especially complex or layered, but honestly, when it's 80 degrees at 8pm and you just want a cool glass of something tart and peppy, who has time to sit and analyze and pontificate and consider? 

I have more important things to do.

If only Francis could take a cue from this wine and live life honestly. And have a label that looks like a frowning sundial.

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