Rose for lovers
It can be soft or hot pink and sweet or bone dry. Just how is rose wine produced?
Traditionally a wine enjoyed during hot weather or with a picnic, rosé has over the years been adopted by lovers as the ideal wine to celebrate Valentine's, not least because of its soft blush colour. It's available as both still wine and sparkling wine and produced all over the world, including in Thailand.
Rosé wines are typically made from red grapes, at least in Europe, as European law does not allow the blending of red wine and white wines for rosé with the exception of rosé Champagne. However, whereas the normal process for making red wine leaves the juice in contact with the grape skins (maceration) during fermentation, for rosé the juice is drained off from the skins within two to three days and allowed to ferment in another vessel. The comparatively brief skin contact gives the wine its pale pink colour.
A lighter style of rosé is Vin Gris. Translating as "grey wine", this actually refers to a very pale rosé. Rosé can also be more concentrated or saignée, from the French word for bleed. Saignée refers to a process in which a blend of dark-skinned red grapes are crushed and left to stand in a stainless-steel tank or vat for several hours before the juice is "bled" out of the tank and used for making rosé.
Rosé can be made out of many kinds of grapes. In France, the varietals are granache and cinsault as well as cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon.
In Italy, where rosé is called Rosato or Rosetta, the wine is made from specific, approved grape varieties, which differ depending on the DOC and region. In Abruzzi, the Rosato is quite intense and made from the Montepulciano grape while Rosetta from Piedmont is slightly bubbly and sweet.
Spain has the light pink Rosado and the more concentrated Clarette, both produced from tempranillo and granacha tinta grapes.
And all wine drinkers will have heard of the medium-sweet Mateus rosé from Portugal, which is made in Duoro from the tempranillo grape.
In the US, "blush" wine is often used in place of rosé. Popular since the 1980s, it's made from popular grape varietal, white Zinfandel.
Here in Thailand, the syrah or shiraz grape is an important varietal for rosé. Village Cellar Ma Cherie Syrah Rosé 2011, made from 100 per cent Syrah grapes, has a smooth taste with aroma of passion fruit and is good with any appetiser.
Sakuna Syrah Rosé 2011 from GranMonte won many awards last year. It's a beautiful rose pink with fresh fruit and a hint of sweetness on the palate. It's great as aperitif and matches well with hot and spicy Thai dishes.
PB Valley Rosé 2010 is made from 90 per cent Colombard and 10 per cent Syrah. It's candy pink with a tint of amber and fruit-driven with pineapple, peach and apple with a touch of mild red berries. The sweetness of its aroma together with the refreshing acid followed by a clean finish means it pairs well with any dish.
Siam Winery has three rosés. Monsoon Valley Blended Rosé 2011 is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Syrah. With a light body and mango and red berry aroma, it's a refreshing, stylish choice for hot summer dining and spicy Asian and Thai dishes.
Monsoon Valley White Shiraz 2011 crafts Shiraz grapes into white wine. A pale salmon colour, its aromas of red fruits and black pepper and high acid level are balanced by pure berry flavours and light tannin, giving it a medium body and light finish that makes it suitable for any time of day.
Last but certainly not least is Monsoon Valley Rosé Sangiovese 2011. It's made from Sangiovese, the famous Tuscan grape varietal. The characteristic of the Sangiovese grape is quite evident with aromas and notes of amarena (sour) cherry, tea, liquorice, plum, and violet. A wine with a tannic "bite", it is structured like a serious rosé and can pair well with chicken, heartier fish dishes, or Mediterranean dishes as well as Thai curry. Siam Winery also has Monsoon Valley Extra Sec Rose 2010, a sparkling rose made from Shiraz. It has fresh aromas of strawberry and blackcurrant with toasty and red fruits on the nose. It's refreshing and perfect for toasting your love.
Bubbly at The Bar
To celebrate Valentine's Day, Moet & Chandon in association with The Bar & The Restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 24 offer an exclusive five-course candlelight dinner. The price starts at Baht5,555 per person inclusive of champagne and a pair of Moet & Chandon Chandelier glasses. A glass of Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage is offered as a welcome drink along with a tapas set. For reservation, call (082) 222 7474.