Making a Case for Rosé

It’s been mighty hot as of late, and these sweltering streets make me crave a light, crisp and refreshing tipple. Many of the popular beers on the market have all started tasting the same to me. I’ve also been trying to avoid refreshing white wines like sauvignon blanc. So my go-to these days has been rosé.

There are plenty of them out there. They tend to be easy on the budget, although some premium pours can set you back a fair amount. For those of you who are only familiar with sweeties like mateus or white zinfandel, remember there is no shame in enjoying the sweeter things in life. Here in Saigon, though, there are a number of dry rosés from around the globe available.

Rosé is among the oldest wines, since it is so straightforward to make. There are three common methods to making it. The commonly assumed version, adding red wine to white, is actually the least common, though it is used for creating rosé champagnes. The second is called sagineé, and uses the must and juice of a red wine batch to create a more colourful and tannic pink wine. The third and most common method involves the steeping of red grape skins in white grape juice, which allows the colour and tannins to seep into the juice.

Though rosé has been a tradition in Europe for the entirety of its grape-growing and wine-drinking history, pink wines are relatively new to North America. Their popularity can be traced back to demand created by servicemen returning from the Italian and French fronts in World War II.

The market-savvy Portuguese winemaker Fernando van Zeller Guedes created mateus, a fizzy rosé that took off in popularity. Fast forward to the 1970s when the ubiquitous white zinfandel was created by accident, but soon became hugely popular as the blush of choice. Though the sweet rosé has now gone out of favour by most wine aficionados, it’s still a well-loved casual drink in many homes and restaurants.

You might say rosé simply goes great with our weather. I always bring a bottle along when I hit the beach, and it’s an awesome companion at the pool. While rosé is perfect as an aperitif, don’t forget to also tote it to a summer barbecue and utilise its food-pairing powers. Rosé is excellent with rich and cheesy dishes, such as pizza, super with crispy salads, and it goes well with chicken and seafood. So next time you’re at your local wine shop or perusing a wine list, don’t limit yourself to red or white. You’ll thank me later.

Michael Kloster is the senior sales executive at Magnum Wine Cellars. He can be contacted at michael@magnumwinecellars.com