Missouri Winemakers Release Long Overdue Dry Rosé

“Cracklin’ Rose you’re a store-bought woman, but you make me sing like a guitar hummin’âÂ?¦..” Of course it came out that Neil Diamond wasn’t singing about his lady friend at all, but rather a bottle of rose’ wine.

During the first three weeks of September, the long hot summer slowly comes to an end. The Pagans of old thought that this time of year was one of great transition, introspection, and magical power. It was a time to lay in the food supplies that you would need for the harsh winter ahead and thank the gods and goddesses for the bountiful harvest. This transitional time is also the best time to appreciate a transitional wine: Rose’.

First of all, let’s not confuse rose’ with blush. Blush wine is sweet, light, and crude, virtually without taste or character. A good rose’ on the other hand, is dry, substantial, and full of character. It also goes well with just about any fine food. Rose’ wine is not a blending of red and white wine either. True rose’ wine is made from red grape varieties. Alas, some American winemakers mix a certain amount of white grapes in with the red, but if it’s done right, that’s OK. There are a few ways that winemakers make a rose’ wine:

One way is that the grapes are pressed as soon as they arrive. The juice is left in contact with the skin for a very short time, maybe no more than a few hours. Then the wine is finished in the same way as a white.

Another method is to put the grapes in the fermentation tank after they have been crushed. As the alcohol increases, the color from the solid must quickly diffuses. The winemaker controls the amount of color by monitoring carefully. The wine is then evacuated to another tank to finish the fermentation process.

A third method that results in a deeper color is to bleed a certain amount of wine out of the tank once every hour. When the right color is obtained, the process goes on just like with a white wine.

Blushes and the Pink Catawba have always been popular in Missouri and this has fortified the belief that pink equals sweet over the years. A year or so ago, the Adam Puchta winery in Hermann, Missouri released the first rose’ wine made in the state in quite some time. In the 2005 Missouri Wine Competition, this rose’ won the gold medal, the first ever for a rose’. Puchta’s secret is that he adds a small amount of the fabled Missouri Norton grape to the wine. This dark red grape adds flavor as well as color to the wine.

Since then two more Missouri wineries have offered up a dry rose’. Augusta Winery entered the judging this year with its La Fleur Sauvage and Montelle added La Rosee. Neither entry won any medals, but there was one rose’ that garnered the bronze, and that was the Crown Valley Greenleaf Rose’ from Ste. Genevieve.

As more and more Missouri wineries get onboard the “crackling rose’ express,” we should see some interesting and flavorful vintages coming down the tracks in the near future. “Oh I love my rose’ childâÂ?¦..you and me, we’ll go in styleâÂ?¦.”

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