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Intrepid Imbibing, June: Deeply-hued Rosé 


Logo for Intrepid Imbibing with people toastin

You may recall that last summer I tried to kick-start a series of blog posts that would acquaint you with new or unfamiliar wines, regions, and styles. It was the (cumbersomely named) “Expanding Your Wine Horizons Challenge” and – I thought – a great way to encourage you all to become more adventurous drinkers, no matter your experience or wine education level. Go, me! Alas, though it was a truly brilliant idea, it didn’t catch on, so after a few months, I let it drift off into the ether.

 

Then, earlier this week, I went back to my old blog to copy over posts before I shut it down completely and, looking back, was reminded of this truly brilliant idea I’d had! So, the first thing I did was come up with a MUCH catchier name: Intrepid Imbibing. Honestly, I think that alone may have fixed the issue. ;)


(And I also resolved to carry on for more than a few months. Because if you do this and tell two friends, and they do this and tell two friends… before you know it, we’ve solved the worldwide problem of drinking the same old boring wine all the time, just because it’s familiar.) So, let’s dive in!

 

At the beginning of the month, I’ll suggest a style or type of wine. I’ll share some options to look for, and maybe even the one I’ve chosen to sip myself. Your job is to source a similar wine and give it a try, contributing your impressions here and/or on the related social media posts. At the end of the month, I’ll wrap it up and we’ll point toward the next one. I think this sounds awesome, don’t you?

 

For June, I’ve chosen: Deeply-Hued Rosé. But Minx, you say, it’s summertime, it’s Rosé All Day season, #drinkpink and all that, why is this theme adventurous?

 

Well, dear reader, it’s the color that interests me. The “summer water” phenomenon tends to involve very pale-pale-pale pink rosés, the paler the better. It is true that we drink with our eyes first, and that affects rosé above all other categories.

 

People look at a deeper-colored Rosé and make immediate (often negative) assumptions based on the color before even considering the region, variety, or producer. It’s going to be sweet. It’s going to taste like a Jolly Rancher. It’s going to be ripely fruity. It’s going to be flabby. And perhaps one or more of those things may be true — but they may also be true of a pale wine too. The color is not the end-all and be-all indicator of everything.


Closeup of lots of bottles of rosé wine

I always say that Rosé is the best of both worlds — it is a red wine in a white wine’s body. If you cut open both a white and a red grape, the pulp is the same color, and that’s where the juice comes from to make wine. So, in order for a red wine to become red, it needs to spend some time macerating on its skins, effectively “dyeing” the wine! This means rosés are typically made from red grapes that only have a scootch of skin contact, so therefore become merely... pink.

 

Now, as red wines made from different grapes have an array of hues, and are paler to deeper-colored, rosés from those grapes can likewise have an array of hues and depth. But also, producers have picked up on the fact that pale rosés sell, so sometimes employ tricks in the winery to strip color (which can also strip flavor, boo.) But if a winemaker wants to show off their grapes the best, they’ll make the wine they want to make and let the color be what it is meant to be.

 

This month, take a chance on a deeply-hued Rosé. They can come from pretty much anywhere, but look for:

 

·      Clairete styles from Spain

·      Cerasuolo from Italy (to some, arguably a light red!)

·      Tavel in France

 

At the wine shop where I work, we also have darker rosés from Oregon, Mexico, Beaujolais, Tuscany, Bandol, and the deepest one I saw, an Irouleguy (Southwest France.) So this month, I chose the 2021 Domaine Arretxea Irouleguy Rosé ($31.99); made from Cabernet Franc and Tannat, I expect it to have a dense, rustic, mineral profile, smoky, herbal, and toasty, and it will almost certainly need to be sipped with food – no wimpy pink, this.

 

And it’s true, many darker rosés will have more structure, heft, and mouthfeel due to the winemaking processes that allow them to be so vivaciously-colored. But enough of my yakking, why don’t you see for yourself?! Seek out a quality rosé from your local shop with a color that almost makes you uncomfortable… and we’ll go from there.

 

I can’t wait to see what you find! Let me know in the comments.

 

Cheers.

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OK, first try, not exactly a deep colored rosé, but definately deeper than your average pale, commercial Cote du Provance sour and tasteless junk. (Did I mention the vastly popular MIB rosé that sells like crazy in every beach bar in the Netherlands?). I found it on a professional portfolio tasting of the importer and was immediately captivated by it.


Marco Porello - Langhe Rosato 2023


(€11,19 through a friend/wholesaler, imported by Poot Agenturen in the Netherlands).


Color is deep-ish salmon pink, not “deep-deep”, but as said, deeper than your fancy CdP rosé.


On the nose the floral and fruity notes immediately capture your attention. Roses, violets, red fruits of strawberries and raspberries.


The acidity is kept in check. This…


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