July 28, 2004
The season’s hot fashion color is pink.
But it’s a hard sell in a wineglass. The mystery is why, given the wide appeal of rosé in wine-savvy places such as southern France, and consumers’ unbridled enthusiasm if you add bubbles: Pink champagne is not a hard sell at all.
Part of the reason can be traced to the years after World War II, when Lancers and Mateus were created for America’s returning GIs, says Jeff Morgan, winemaker for SoloRosa, the sole rosé-only winery in the United States, and author of ‘‘The Book of Rosé,’’ slated for spring 2005 release by Chronicle Books. The soldiers developed a taste for wine in Europe, he says, but still loved their Coca-Cola and soft drinks.
But Lancers and Mateus are nothing like today’s crisp, dry rosés: Grown-up wines that are ideal for summer sipping and pair easily with many of summer’s foods, including those from the grill.
How do you know when a rosé is the wine to drink? You would choose a dry rosé when you want the flavor of a red, but something you can chill like a white.
Rosés are made from any number of varietals, and the secret of the wine’s distinctive color is timing. Once the juice is pressed from the grapes, it stays on the grape skins, where the color is, for a shorter time than for typical red wines. Often, the contact time is a matter of hours instead of weeks. The resulting color ranges from salmon to deep magenta.
‘‘Rosé is a real tough sell on a restaurant wine list,’’ says Van Roberts, owner of Lola the Restaurant, which has one of the Dallas’s best wine lists.
Roberts says it takes a more adventurous diner to try a rosé. ‘‘We serve vastly more to women than to men,’’ he says, adding: ‘‘It is a fantastic food-pairing wine.’’