Light, refreshing wines perfect for sipping on warm nights.
When the weather (finally!) turns warm, we start to think about—and drink—rosé. Combining the refreshing qualities of a white wine with the fruity flavors found in red wine, rosés are remarkably food friendly, typically pairing well with spring and summer fare. Most rosés are light and easy drinking, best served when young and very chilled. But when we’re in the mood for a more complex and richer rosé, we often reach for one from Tavel.
Located in France’s southern Rhone valley, Tavel is the only appellation that produces exclusively rosé wines. A favorite of kings, popes and Ernest Hemingway, among other famed writers, the rosés from Tavel are blends of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mouvedre, with a few other grapes often being added for additional support.
Rosés are usually made by allowing the pressed juice to have only minimal contact with the skins: the longer the contact between the juice and the skins, the deeper the color of the wine. Saignee, the French word for “bleeding,” is another technique whereby some of the lighter juice is poured off to make a rosé allowing the remaining juice to become more concentrated.
Tavel rosés derive their intensity by keeping some of the juice in contact with skins longer and then blending that with lighter juice. In contrast to other rosés, their flavors are more intense and complex, their alcohol content is higher, and they can be aged for several years.
One of Rhone’s finest wine producers is Domaine Lafond-Roc Epine, an organic winery whose portfolio includes a kosher Tavel Rosé. Their kosher Tavel Rosé 2010 ($25) has currant and raspberry aromas with deep red fruit flavors and noticeable minerality on a medium frame with terrific balance, complexity and length. Not a rosé for the meek nor to sip solo, this beauty should be paired with grilled foods. It's available at New York Wine Warehouse.
Another very nice kosher rosé to consider is the Israeli Galil Mountain Rose 2012 ($15): An enticing rose petal pink-colored blend of 82 percent Sangiovese, 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 8 percent Barbera, it is somewhat heavier than most, with dry to off-dry notes of strawberry, raspberry, citrus and spices, and with just enough acidity to remain refreshing; charming fruity aftertaste, to be sipped with grilled fish. It's available at Vines on Pine.
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