Red, White, and Rosé!
Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Before I head out to enjoy some hotdogs and brews with friends (I could lie and pretend I have something classier planned, but I won’t), I thought I would share a bit about a fantastic and oft-overlooked wine that deserves a bit of attention now that summer has officially begun…the 2009 Helix Rosé! Trust me, if I had a bottle or two available to me today, this is what I would be drinking FOR SURE.
If you like your wines cheap, sweet, and pink, please keep drinking your favorite gallon-jug wine for $7.99. If you like your wines full-bodied, fruity, tart, complex and refreshing (ok, and they are pink, too), then welcome to the 2009 Helix Rosé (and many other Walla Walla Valley and Columbia Valley small-production Rosés). Rosé, as many of you probably know from a rudimentary study of any romantic language, translates to “pink”. The roots of Rosé can be traced back to ancient Greece, when much of the red wine produced was pale red; wine was not left to macerate for as long as it does today and, thus, never became fully red. Eventually the Romans popularized darker red wines in Europe around the mid 100s B.C., but Rosé remained popular in parts of France — most notably the Provence region — and the surrounding Mediterranean.
By the mid 1970′s, the popularity and demand for white wine in California exceeded the availability of white grapes. California producers, ever pandering to the market, resorted to making white-ish wine from red grapes via the saignee method (the removal of the juice from the must-a.k.a freshly pressed grape juice-to be fermented separately from the remainder of the red wine). The first American Rosés weren’t necessarily sweet, but after the unexpected success of a batch of semi-sweet Rosé released by Sutter Home – the result of over-fermentation – the category of “blush” wines was born. These inexpensive “pink and sweet” wines became incredibly popular, eventually breeding a generation’s worth of negative connotations for Rosé. Today, with much more attune winemakers and educated palates, Walla Walla Valley Rosés are, in my opinion, phenomenal.
Like many wines, Rosé has gone through both wildly popular and tragically unpopular phases throughout its modern history, but is making a strong comeback in Walla Walla wineries as a fantastic late spring and summer, sunshine-filled, porch sittin’, grilled-food eating wine. Our 2009 Helix Rosé is a blend of Sangiovese, Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, which has been fermented in stainless steel to let those fruit-forward flavors shine. Our National Sales guy, Justin, says, “this delicious blend showcases aromas of grapefruit, watermelon and red berries. This is a full blown Rosé, with loads of tartness and a big, round mouthfeel. Strawberry and cherry flavors ignite your palate causing sensory overload that will make you want to drink the whole bottle!” I love it because it is a great alternative to white and often showcases more of those amazing strawberry and fresh, fruity flavors than white.
Have a great day, everyone, and enjoy the sunshine!