By Michelle Waldron
Congratulations to us all, we made it to the month of June! So many things to look forward to this month, the easing of pandemic restrictions, summer solstice, and perhaps to some, National Rose’ Day on June 13th. Yes, it is a thing! National Rose’ Day or as I might refer to it, “drink Rose’ all day” is a holiday established in 2015. According to a handy on-line wine holiday calendar I found, besides June 13th, Rose’ also has the entire month of August dedicated to it as well as another day in February! This provides many reasons throughout the year to celebrate Rose’ wine (which I LOVE).
Let’s admit it, what is notto love about a pink wine, whether it be still or sparkling. In the past few years Rosé has become one of the hottest wine trends, exploding everywhere. As I pondered writing this article I found myself reminiscing about my youth and recalling my enjoyment of the then popular wine, white zinfandel. But don’t be confused, today’s Rose’ is of a higher quality to be enjoyed and much more fashionable than my favorite pink hot tub wine of the ‘80’s.
Around 9 years ago I recall heading to Walla Walla on a wine trip with my husband. We stopped for lunch in Prosser. We ate at a restaurant called Wine O’Clock, which is owned and operated by Bunnell Family Cellars (quite well known for their fabulous Syrah’s). It has a wonderful menu and great wine selection. It was August and typically hot for Eastern Washington afternoons. We chose the outside eating area. The tables are in a nice shady garden area surrounded by fresh herbs for the restaurant. It is a lovely memory. When the waitress came to our table she suggested a Rose’ by the glass to enjoy with lunch. It was fabulous. So, two glasses later and following lunch, we acquired two bottles of the wine on the way out the door. It was perfect, we had started our wine trip with success! From that moment on, and for the rest of that trip it was all about tasting more Rose’ from other wine producers. This was in 2011, a few years before the recent surge in Rose’ sales. While Washington wine producers had begun to produce Rose’ wines, the production was more limited than today. Each Walla Walla wine tasting room or winery we visited had either very little Rose’ remaining or none at all. However, it was this wine trip which fueled my passion for Rose’ wine to this day.
Let’s take a deeper dive into Rose’ wine and learn a few facts about this perfectly pink drink.
Rose’ is probably the oldest know type of wine, dating back as far as 600 BC.
The most common and popular grape varietal used is the Grenache grape. This grape is predominately from Provence region in southern France and is where Rose’ wine began. This is also the largest Rose’ producing region in the world. Up until the birth of the railroad, Rose’ stayed relatively contained to Provence, but the industrial revolution along with tourism gave way to a greater worldwide fan base that we now see today. You will also find Rose’ wines made using Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Syrah grapes. Most of the time, Rose’ wine is made from red wine grapes. The pink color of Rosé wine depends on the length of time the grape skins stay in contact with the juice, also known as maceration. Rose’ is food-friendly and approachable, it’s just as good on its own as it is when paired with grilled meats – making it an easy choice especially in warm weather. There are some sweet Rose’ wine out there, but Rose’ is mainly a dry wine, which is the type of Rose’ I prefer. The wine will taste much like their red wine counterparts but lighter and more subtle.
One of my early favorite Rose’ wines is Julia’s Dazzle, from Long Shadows Winery of Walla Walla, WA. Pinot Gris grapes are used, which is a red skinned grape with white flesh. The grapes are left on the vines until a bright tint from the skins is developed. Light in pink color, the taste is fresh and bright with flavors of strawberries and a light melon taste, with a clean dry finish. I first came across this wine at the Gig Harbor Wine and Food Festival. You can find Julia’s Dazzle wine available in many stores in the area, or you can buy directly online from Long Shadows Winery. Long Shadows confirmed with me that the 2019 has just been released. It is ready to drink and is a great wine for under $20 a bottle.
Whichever Rose’ you choose, whether still, semi-sparkling or full bubbles, this wine is meant to be enjoyed young. So buy it, chill it, drink it and then enjoy each sip to the fullest! Enjoy National Rose’ Day and enjoy the month of June!