The history of rosé can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. There are two popular beliefs behind the history of Rosé; one mythical and one a bit more practical. Although I typically enjoy believing in the myths, I have to render my vote with the practical.
Amphictyon, son of Deucalion and Pyrrah, ruled Athens for twelve(debatable) years and founded the Amphictyonic League. I’m guessing this was like the Masons and they supposedly met at Thermopylae in historical times. During his reign, Dionysus was supposed to have visited Amphictyon in Athens multiple times and taught him how to mix water with wine in the proper proportions.This was, according to myth, performed to dilute the red wine’s strength in order to minimize quarreling.
Impatience is Key
More likely, wine was not left to macerate for as long as it does today and, thus, never became fully red. [Not quite as romantic a notion as the myth, but I must admit, I don’t like the idea of mixing water with wine to dilute the color.] Athough the Romans ultimately popularized red wine in Europe around the mid 100s B.C., rosé did remain popular in regions of France.
Sutter Home’s Game Changer
During the 1970s, white wine was a huge hit. And the demand was greater
than the supply of California grapes. Knowing that you must adapt or be eliminated, California producers started making “white” wine from red grapes using the saignée method. [winemaking process involved bleeding off a portion of red wine after only a short period of time, and contact of the juice with the grape skins]
Thanks to a stuck fermentation and a great marketing team, Sutter Home released the category of “blush” wines. These became known as inexpensive sweet pink wines and [in my opinion, unfortunately] caught fire leading to a negative opinion of rosé wine. Luckily, this perspective is starting to change. Rosé is coming into its own. Once thought of as sweet wine, moved to “summer sipper” and now is a wine to drink throughout the year – definitely more than a summer drink.
A Rosé By Any Other Name
True rosé is made from red grapes. The color comes from the anthocyanins (natural pigments) found in the skin. The quality of the wine depends on several things including the type and quality of the grapes, the temperature within the vat and finally the length of time the grape juice remains in contact with the skins. The longer the juice remains in contact, the darker the wine will be. For a comparison, rosé wine may remain in contact for a mere few hours, while red wine stays in contact for days. This wine making process is known as maceration.
The Rosé Exposé
The pairing challenge for June is very straight forward. Pair the rosé of your choice with the food of your choice. It’s all up to you. Begin with a rosé (or two or three) and choose your recipe(s) accordingly, or start with the food and choose the wine.
#WinePW was created by David of cookingchat.com. Joining is easy! If you have a blog, choose a rosé, pair it with a meal and post your blog on Saturday, June 11th before 8am EST. Then join us on Twitter at 11am EST to chat about your food and wine pairings. It is that simple and it is loads of fun! Even if you don’t have a blog you can join in the fun and follow the chat. Just look for #WinePW!
On My Plate
I must admit, rosé is not in our typical wine lineup. We have had a few, some we have liked and others that we, lets just say haven’t. But I joined this group to “force” me to get outside my comfort zone in terms of wine, so when this challenge was presented- I accepted. But I had to do a little research, since we don’t typically drink rosé, I had to go to the web to look up some pairing suggestions. The number one food that kept coming up was ham. Well, I don’t eat ham, so that posed a problem. I had to improvise and be creative. Being that rosé is often thought of as a summer sipper, I figured the meal should be something simple and something you would drink on you back deck or patio. What popped in my head was panini! Simple, yet somewhat elegant. [what is it that makes a panini more special than grilled cheese?]
Anyway, I invited my friend over for dinner to join in the fun. I purchased ciabatta rolls form the local store along with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. Easy peasy, nice and easy, I warmed my panini press with a bit of olive oil. Cut the ciabatta roll and placed it face down to warm up the insides. I flipped them over, placed the fresh mozzarella, proscuitto and sliced tomato on one side, put the top on and pressed away. Less than five minutes later, I had my grilled panini. May I say, YUM?!!!!
In My Glass
2015 Passaggio Wines Merlot Rosé (SRP: $29.00)
Cynthia Cosco is a fourth generation Italian who grew up watching her grandfather make wine. After 15 years in Law Enforcement, she found herself with a desire to pursue her passion that was ingrained in her from her ancestors. She chose to leave her career and enter the wine industry with the dream of making her own wine. From 2004 – 2010 Cindy proved herself in an array of different jobs within the wine industry. She began her career working part time for a major wine distributor, then moved into a part time job at Chateau St. Jean, then becoming a lab manager at Crushpad. In 2011, she decided it was time to promote the Passaggio brand and currently has a beautiful tasting room located at 25 East Napa St, Suite C in Sonoma.
The wine poured salmon in color. ON THE NOSE: clay, watermelon and cherry blossom. ON THE PALATE: Cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Very crisp and refreshing light bodied with a medium(+) finish
Right off, I have to say this wine was a great wine. I opened it while I was preparing the meal and my friend’s glass was empty before I finished cutting up the cheese and prosciutto. [mine would have been empty also, if I had another hand to pick up the glass] But when people talk about wine and food pairings, and how they can compliment each other- this was what they were talking about. The prosciutto in the sandwich brought out the raspberry in the wine. It cut the acid and made it an all around “WOW” wine. With each bite, I immediately wanted to pick up the glass in order to savor the flavors. This was a winning combination, and I was upset when both the wine and the sandwich was gone.
So whether it was Amphictyon trying to eliminate confrontations due to alcohol, or the Greeks not having the patience to allow the wine to macerate long enough to produce a deep red wine, something clearly got confused. But I say, happy accident! [ok, stole that line from one of my favorite movies, “The Internship.”] So check out my friends’ posts about their rosé wine pairings, get yourself to the store, grab a bottle of rosé and enjoy!
Cindy from Grape Experiences will share Wine and Dine: Galil Mountain Rose and Mixed Olive Tapenade
Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog pairs Chicken and Sausage Paella Paired with a Unicorn Rosé
Nancy from Pull That Cork will pair A Corsican Rosé and Summer Veggie Pizza for #winePW
Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission: I received this wine at no cost from Passaggio and Protocol Wine Studio. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.