The Wine Guy: Real Men Drink Rose
Aug 2012 01

The Wine Guy: Real Men Drink Rose

Posted In Blog,Booze,Food & Drink

by The Wine Guy

Real men drink Rose (pronounced rowzay). Why is that? A real man is not afraid to have his sexuality questioned because of what he drinks. Gay, straight, bi, good wine is good wine. And what the average person may not know is that most of the best ones are not sweet. In fact, the vast majority are dry to bone dry. We are not talking about White Zin here, and if that’s what you are drinking, please stop, immediately.

Rose is made from 100 percent red grapes most of the time, but there are some that have white grapes blended in. So why is the Rose pink instead of red? Because the maceration period is reduced, meaning the skin is left in contact with the pressed grape juice for a much shorter period. A rule of thumb being, the lighter the color, the shorter the maceration.

Maceration gives the wine both its color and tannins. The grape used also plays a huge part in the wine’s hue. A Rose made from Cabernet Sauvignon will tend to be darker and have a fuller body than one made from Pinot Noir, just like the red wines themselves. While I personally like my Rose to be made from Pinot or Syrah, I have found Roses made from many different grapes that I have truly enjoyed.

When a Rose is made correctly, the result is a wine that is neither red nor white, and that is what makes Rose so special. There’s just nothing like them, and they come in a surprising amount of styles. If you have never had the pleasure of sitting outside on a warm summer day, drinking a crisp, elegant Rose, then you should make that happen as soon as possible. While France remains the unquestioned King of Rose, there are plenty of good domestic ones, with more being made daily as the wine’s popularity increases.

As a wine seller, if I had a dollar for every time I suggested a Rose to a man, and he looked at me like I was from outer space before saying something like, “I don’t think so,” then I would be rich. Are you really so insecure that you can’t drink pink? Or do you feel uneasy already just by virtue of the fact you’re drinking wine to begin with?

A bone dry Rose Bandol (an AOC or Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée wine from Provence) on a hot summer afternoon can taste like fucking magic. We’re talking about a crisp, lean, and very refreshing wine. A Rose can take the best qualities of white and red and combine them to perfection. When learning about wine, the first thing you have to learn often is that your assumptions are wrong. Thus Rose is commonly and unquestioningly assumed to be sweet, but, as I mentioned, they can be some of the driest wines made in fact.

The other spectacular thing about Rose is that because so many people are so resistant to them, they are undervalued. You can get a high quality Rose for $15 dollars, and if you spend double that you should get something spectacular. For example, a Montrachet Rose made from some of the finest Pinot Noir grapes in the world can cost you less than $25, whereas its red equivalent will be at least double that. It’s even more of a good deal when you take into account that Rose, for the most part, is meant to be drunk young, so it’s easy to buy and enjoy the wine at its peak, which is always a huge plus.

However, the best Rose comes in the sparkling fashion, both from Champagne and other bubbly producing areas. These are some of the most delicate, balanced, and exquisite wines you will ever encounter. There is a reason that the Dom Perignon Rose is four times the price of its brut counterpart.

Last year the best wine I had all year long, (and I had a shit ton of wine) was the Charles Heidseck Brut Reserve Rose. It was absolutely incredible. This baby was light on the palette, but explosive in flavor and incredibly long with new twists and turns with each sip. The bubbles were tiny, and shot up the glass as if coming from a fish tank treasure chest – all for around $70, which in Champagne terms is an absolute steal. That said, you could find a sparkling Cremant for around $20 (or less!) that will make you rethink all your future sparkling choices because of how good it is.

Now that I have you ready and raring to go Rose, lets talk about what you should look for. As mentioned earlier, France is a great place to start. Want to save some money, buy some from the Languedoc, France’s largest wine producing region. Many bargain Roses hail from that area. Want to get a fancier bottle? Provence is almost always a safe bet. Want to go for the gold? Then Bandol is the way to go. I’ve never had a bad Bandol, not even once. Spain is a lovely place for Rose as well. You can find some very affordable Rioja Roses for under $20.

Want a reasonably priced sparkling Rose? Try one from Alsace, or Bourgone, as they tend to be cheaper than their Champagne counterparts. When buying a domestic Rose, I always try to go local. There are some bigger wineries that make decent Rose but a lot of times they will be sweet or mediocre. The local winery typically makes the Rose for the season, and it is a labor of love so you get a higher quality. Look for the case production on the back of the bottle or on the internet. If it is under a thousand give it a shot, if it is over ten thousand give it a pass. The bottom line is, next time you are wine shopping and you can’t decide between red or white because it’s too hot outside or because the food you’re going to be eating your wine selection with is too light for a red but a little too strong for most whites, buy a Rose!

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The Wine Guy sells wine for a living, and lives to drink it. It’s his first and foremost passion. He avoids factory wines, loves to seek out bottles that are interesting and unique, and gets excited when he finds a grape he’s have never heard of.

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