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Delectable dry Rosé

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Jason Wentworth, Alice Peters

In recent years, Northside Wine & Spirits has witnessed mounting interest in dry rosés, which are among the most delightful, versatile, and food-friendly of all wines. Many of the world’s great wine regions, particularly in France and Spain, have long traditions of rosé production and consumption. In 2007, in fact, French sales of rosé outstripped those of white wine.

One can think of rosés simply as very light red wines. The pigment in most red wines comes from the grape skins, as the juice in most red wine grapes is clear. In the production of red wine, the juice is held is held in contact with the skins for 7-10 days or longer. To produce dry rosé, the period is cut to 1-2 days, and all the sugar is then fermented into alcohol.

The staff at Northside Wine and Spirits recently blind-tasted 31 dry rosé wines from all over the world. The wines demonstrated many variations on pink, ranging in color from pale salmon to bright pink to light red in color. The best wines had a lovely balance of fruit, acidity, and alcohol. The least favored wines tended to have alcohol that was out of balance with the fruit, resulting in wines marked by a “hot,” or slightly rough finish.

Though France and Spain are the best known producers of dry rosé, the first-place wine hails from central Italy’s Umbria region. The Falesco 2007 Vitiano Rosé ($11) exhibits a fine, purply-pink hue. Its inviting nose, redolent of cherry and raspberry, leads to a delicately fruited palate that is dry, refreshing, and balanced. It’s a fine introduction to this category, and a very good value, as 20 of the wines in the tasting were more expensive [Sku 8437].* Another good value was the locally produced Sheldrake Point 2007 Dry Rosé. This lovely, crisp wine tied for fourth place, and costs a mere $9.

Both can be enjoyed on their own or with a wide range of foods, especially Mediterranean dishes like bouillabaisse, salade Niçoise, ratatouille, or stuffed bell peppers. These wines also make ideal choices for meals in which many different flavors are on the table at the same time, such as a typical Indian meal or Thanksgiving dinner.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 10/11/2008.

*To Purchase this wine, simply type its "Sku" into the "Find" field at the top of the page, then click "Go."

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