Something to Wine About: A Rose in May – By Any Other Name

While chardonnay is considered a wonderful transitional wine in all its forms – see Your NewsMag’s April story on that fabulous grape at – the month of May, with warm weather on the way, beckons for rose!

Rose, with its bi-partisan appearance of not-red, not-white, is more controversial than either of its sister wines. But let’s start with what rose wine actually is and isn’t. As most wine stores are concerned, it is any wine that falls into a pink- or salmon-colored hue. Not watered-down red, or red mixed with white, it is white wine with a short exposure to red grape skin.

To understand this you need to know that despite the color of their skin almost all grapes, with a few rare exceptions, have white flesh. White Zinfandel for example, which I’m reluctant to call rose, is not its own special grape. It is the white flesh of the Zinfandel grape with short contact to its red skins.

Keeping this in mind you can also find the less-popular White Merlot. These “roses” are most appealing to those who prefer sweet wines and are a big favorite to those beginning their foray into wine. They work best icy cold in the hot summer served with casual foods such as barbecue.

While any pink wine can be called rose, I find few that actually should. There are, for me, two rejoins that produce top-flight roses. The first is Cotes de Provence. The traditional Cotes de Provence rose bottle is easy to recognize with its curvy shape, and the wine inside is a decidedly salmon color. Cotes du Provence is a region in France famous for its rose.

Interestingly, while it is from France, the only rose wine to make Wine Spectators list of top 100 wines in 2013 is Miraval Rose, from a vineyard owned by Americans Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. And for a Top 100 Wine it’s affordable at only about $26 bottle. It’s just not easy to find.

The second region is the Rioja region in Spain. It boasts two types of roses: one aged for some time, spicy and salmon in color – which I like; and the other younger and fruitier that, again, does well for icy summer sipping.

On Saturday, May 24th, from 4-to-7 p.m. I will be pouring OR Chardonnay at Ace’s Wine and Spirits 1811 Merrick Avenue, Merrick. The story on this exciting wine can be found at Come join me for a taste!

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