Rosé… The Magic of Blush Wines

Friday, July 25, 2008

3rd in a series of six


Rosé wines, also called pink wines, and more commonly referred to as blush wines, are really white wines.  Strange, interesting, but true.  They are made from red grapes, but since the juice only stays in contact with the skins for a short time, they only retain a tint of the natural colorings of the grape skins.  Because the time of actual contact is short, the wines have very little tannin.


The term blush wines came about in the 80s, because back then, pink wines weren’t very popular.  Of course, here in America the 80s yielded White Zinfandel (a mistake by Sutter Home that made them a fortune then, which is still going strong), White Grenache and mixtures of the two.


Blush wines called “white” as a pretext are usually very sweet, which is not the taste of all blush wines.  There are many that tend to be less sweet, and some that are even dry.  I have even had one made from Malbec that was quite rich and smoky.


There really is no stigma against rosé, except for white zin, and they are actually great in the summertime.  They can be a good compromise wine when one person desires a white, and the other person desires a red; of course, in this situation, I prefer just to have my own bottle of what I want, and not share it with the other person. 


I read somewhere that Almaden Vineyard’s Grenache Rosé was the first blush wine in America, and this was during the 1940s.  It was Mill Creek Winery that was one of the first to coin the term “blush.”


History of White Zinfandel:


While making Zinfandel, the yeast that normally consumes the sugar in the grape juice died.  The result was a slightly sweet pinkish wine. Sutter Home bottled this result and created a new wine market.


But a rosé is so much more:


Rosé wines tend to have a range of flavors and aromas, and they have ample acidity.  They are best served chilled, and are great for sipping, which is perfect for people who aren’t diehard wine drinkers.


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