Saturday, January 5, 2008

Last Night's Tipple

Another day, another bottle of Gruet sparkling wine. This time, it's the NV Brut Rosé. Rosé sparkling wine is very similar to rosé still wine in that it is produced at least partially from red grapes. The winemaker allows the juice from the red grapes to sit on the skins for a short period of time -- typically seven days or less -- causing the juice to take a small amount of color from the skins. The resulting wine is either pink or salmon-orange. Here's the difference between sparking wine and still wine, though: whereas consumers and winemakers usually see a rosé still wine at best as a non-serious, fun wine and price it accordingly (ie, less than red or white wines from the same producer), rosé sparkling wine is rarer and usually more sought-after than white sparkling wine.

I like well-made rosé wines for a number of reasons, including the beautiful color and the fact that the good ones typically will have strong aromas of strawberries and raspberries. Rosé sparkling wine has both of these benefits and a third one, too: it has a bit more heft and weight than white sparkling wines. The fact that Champagne and Champagne imitators use mostly Pinot Noir for their red grapes is an added benefit since Pinot Noir often has the berry flavors and aromas that I like in a rosé. I like sparkling wine; I love rosé sparkling wine. Just as the Gruet Blanc de Noirs is a nice white sparkling wine at a great price, the Gruet Rosé is a nice rosé sparkling wine at a great price. Nice carbonation, nice berry flavors and aromas, no nasty sourness. Just an excellent value.

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