A day with rosé: Michiana blush wines suited for summer
A chilled glass of rosé offers a refreshing fruit profile that makes for a satisfying drink on a warm, sunny day. Whether served with food or enjoyed on its own, this versatile wine is a popular choice for the season.
Unlike the familiar White Zinfandel, rosés can be made from any red grape and are usually vinified dry. The wines’ perceived sweetness comes from their fruitiness rather than residual sugar content. As a bonus, rosés are generally lower in alcohol than a typical still wine.
There are various ways of producing rosés, also referred to as blush or pink wines. Domestic wineries most often employ either the saignée [san-YEH] technique or limited maceration. The latter entails restricting the juice’s exposure to the must—freshly pressed juice that contains the skins, seeds and stems—and fermenting a removed juice portion. Essentially, the juice is separated from the skins before it gets too dark. Bulk wine is frequently made this way.
The saignée technique involves removing juice from a partially fermented red wine. The bled wine is then allowed to complete fermentation. This process, as compared to limited maceration, results in deeper colors, richer flavors and some of the longest-lasting rosés.
U.S. wine drinkers have developed a greater appreciation of rosés in recent years. A number of Michiana wineries offer their version of pink wine. Because rosés do not cellar well, most wineries make theirs in limited runs. Be sure to enjoy a bottle while it is young and still vibrant.
Non-vintage Simply Pink; St. Julian Winery—semi-dry blend of Chambourcin, Foch, Merlot and Cabernet Franc at 11% alcohol by volume (ABV). The tomato, red bell pepper and red currant flavors of this wine go well with pizza and other red sauce dishes. The wine’s acidity makes it more of a food wine than a sipper.
2013 Marland Rosé; Wyncroft—dry, Cabernet Franc at 14% ABV. This wine has the color and aroma of fresh, ripe strawberries. To the palate, there are strawberry and tart cherry flavors with a hint of spice. A rich, silky mouthfeel extends to a long, savory finish. I would enjoy this wine with just about anything from shrimp to mushroom dishes, as well as spicier Mexican and Asian food.
2013 Rosé; Free Run Cellars—dry, Pinot Meunier at 12% ABV. The wine has a candy apple red color with muted fruit to the nose. The taste is dominated by restrained flavors of wild strawberry and red raspberry sauce with underlying dusty notes. A pork, salmon or turkey entrée would be my suggested pairing.
Non-vintage Peace, Love & Bubbles; Karma Vista Vineyards—semi-dry, Pinot Noir. This sparkling wine has a beautiful salmon color and displays a generous mousse, a persistent layer of bubbles when poured. Elegant notes of cranberry and melon are on the palate. I liked this wine with lamb chops. Turkey or a vegetarian entrée also comes to mind.