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Just a Little Skin Contact

August 10, 2012

I may often paint my fellow Noblers as booze-fiending, loyal followers of the experiment but…Well that’s true. However, some of them can write…

As summer comes to a close, I thought I’d spend a little time reflecting on a wine many of us have probably had over these last few months:  rosé.  Sure the stuff truly took off a few years ago when it was reported that Sting was slugging bottles of it backstage before concerts during the Police reunion tour, but  rosé  has been a part of our wine culture for centuries, especially in France where, currently, sales of rosé have exceeded that of white wine!  The question most people often have is: where does  rosé come from?  We know red wine is made from red grapes and white wine is made from white grapes (though not always, more on that later), so does that mean  rosé  is made from pink grapes?  

Since pink grapes don’t exist, there has to be another way  rosé  is created, and that way is by skin contact.  The color in every wine comes from the juice’s contact with the skins of the grape that the juice was just extracted from; the longer the skin comes in contact with the juice, the more color that is imparted.  That means one could actually peel all the skins off of red grapes, extract the juice and make a white wine from it!  An incredible winemaker in the North Fork of Long Island named Anthony Nappa actually does this with Pinot Noir, the wine is called Anamoly, and it’s fantastic, but I digress…

Rosé is, in fact, a product of red grapes, but when creating a  rosé  the winemaker only lets the juice he or she has extracted come in contact with the grape skins for a very short period of time, usually 2 to 3 days, thus imparting a beautiful pink color.  You can’t go wrong with  rosé , but if you are looking for a classic, go with one produced in Provence, though I also love ones made in the Languedoc region of France, as well as the deeper colored ones that come out of Italy and Spain.  If you’re looking for an American made rosé, my favorite year after year is the one produced by David Page and Barbara Shinn at their winery Shinn Estates on the North Fork of Long Island.  You can find their  rosé  at most wine shops in New York City and it’s always a crowd pleaser.  Now that you know a little more about rosé, go out and drink one or ten bottles before summer ends!
– Adam
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One comment

  1. […] details) but in the mean time, the idea is simple. I’d actually suggest you grab a bottle of solid rosé and start there. The slightly more complex wine holds up to the splash of seltzer fantastically and […]



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