Tuesday, August 12, 2008


From time to time I write a little about wine. Wine I drink, wine I collect, what mailing lists I am on, blah....blah....blah...blah! After all, this blog did start out with a wine focus and since the world of wine geeks is an inch wide and a mile deep this blog gives me a small platform to share my humble opinion.
I am sure many of you are looking at the above photo and thinking (WTF?). A pink wine and a screw top? Let me tell you this, there has been a huge paradigm shift with alternative wine closures such as screw tops (actually Stelvin Caps) making huge inroads into with wine industry. Where these closures were once the indication of a "cheap" bottle, today if you know anything about wine you will know that a large number of $20-40 wines are using these Stelvin Caps.
The above wine is a Rose made from Merlot grapes grown at the Celilo Vineyard in Washington State.

As a quick primer, I want to explain in rudimentary terms that Rose wines can be made three different ways.

1. Red wine and white wine are fermented separately and then blended together to create a Rose.

2. The winemaker may decide that in the course of making a red wine that they want to concentrate the juice to skin ration (less juice to more skins) to boost the flavor profile. What the winemaker will do is actually do what the French refer to as a Saignée
. This process involves the draining off of a small percent of the grape juice. Since the unfermented juice has had little skin contact the color will be may range from a light pink to a deep Salmon or even Copper color.

3. Rose may be made intentionally by crushing the red grapes and treating the wine as though it were a white wine. White wines are lightly crushed as they are brought in from harvest and see little skin contact. Red wine on the other hand will have extended skin contact (two weeks or so). The Rose wine is then fermented in either stainless steel tanks or neutral oak barrels.

Personally I love Rose and some of the finest Champagnes in the world are technically Rose wines. If you grew up drinking White Zinfandel then these wines will be a suprise to you. Most of them are bone dry, with a hint of red fruit (think Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry, Cranberry) and a big dose of crisp acidity. They are perfect chilled as an alternative to a cocktail and they go well with almost all poultry.

2007-Phelps Creek- Ceililo Vineyard Rose
2007 Phelps Creek-Celilo Vineyard Rose-Dark for a Rose, almost a Copper color (the skins had 4 days contact on the juice). The wine is made from Merlot grapes and shows bright ripe strawberries on the nose. Good fruit on the palate that is balanced with a crisp acidity and a clean finish. While the wine is fermented almost completely dry, the fruit is big enough to give the slightest hint of sweetness. This is about as far away from a White Zinfandel as you can get. I love this wine!


Heather said...

I love rosé, too. It's the perfect wine for summer! I like it with salmon, too.

Glad someone else is doing the FB challenge. I'll blog the Israeli couscous that I'm bringing.

Norm Schoen said...

I think you have been doing a "Rope-a-Dope" in regard to wine with me. Your palate is way more sophisticated than you profess. I am going to serve a Phelan Segur 2007 Rose on Sunday as a "starter" wine.

Foodycat said...

Rose is fantastic but I am happy for it to be seen as an unfashionable girly wine - more for me! My favourite is an Australian one - Chain of Ponds Novello Rosso. It's a sangiovese grenache blend, lots of juicy fruit but with a fantastic tanniny dry end.

Norm Schoen said...

Foodycat-Rose is becoming a "buzz" wine. I will have to look for the wine you mentioned.