You don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy good wine. Neither do you need a turtleneck sweater, serious expression or even the slightest knowledge of French or Italian to be the next Robert Parker. A clean glass and a nose will do, along with the patience to savor what the senses communicate. Rosé wine is a great place to start, too, as this wine from French Provence is one of the most accessible and distinctive to study. Wine aficionados tend to invest a great deal of florid vocabulary and jargon in their tasting, but really the skill is in linking abstract flavors and aromas to familiar items.
How to prepare for wine tasting
The best way to prime your palate for wine tasting is to neutralize your taste buds with a sip or two of still water at room temperature. Cold water will numb the flavor receptors. If you’re tackling a series of wines, you can reset your taste buds between wines with a plain cracker, bread, or even a slice of watermelon or apple. Ultimately, though, 50 percent of your taste is through the nose. Let your wine breathe and gather aroma by giving it plenty of room in a white wine glass with a standard bowl size.
THE KEY ELEMENTS OF WINE
The experts can identify and describe a wine by smell alone, but the real fun starts with tasting. Hidden in every wine are a signature aroma and complex bouquet. These two terms are close but not synonymous. The aroma is guided by the grape variety. In the case of French Provence rosé, that typically means grenache, so expect a hint of summer fruits, melon and even celery. The bouquet, on the other hand, comes from the fermenting and aging process particular to each estate. Wine absorbs aroma and flavor from the barrel, and each wine estate will pride itself on the flavor profile that its process delivers. When you start picking up wood smoke, vanilla, spice and nutty flavors, you know you’re through to the bouquet.
Test Yourself on Our Out East Rosé
You should find these hidden in our signature Provence rosé:
Aroma: Hints of cavaillon melon, white peach, wild berries
Bouquet: Baking spices, violets
tasting the balance in rosé wine
The aroma and bouquet of a wine establish the character. Other factors confirm the quality. Winemakers aim for a harmonious balance of the following factors:
white wines tend to be sweeter, while reds lean towards sourness. Rosé mostly, but not always, sits between the two.
wines with more acidity make your mouth water. The secret is to balance acidity with sweetness.
the astringent quality that is a characteristic of bold Bordeaux wines. Because of the way it is produced, rosé is light on tannins.
the viscosity and depth of the wine. Usually, the higher the alcohol content, the fuller the body. Our rosé wine is around 13 percent by volume.
how long the flavor and texture linger on the taste buds. Like house guests, some linger longer.
Why Provence Rosé Is Special
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on an authentic Provence rosé, you are in for a treat. The breadth of aromas and flavors contained within the nine Provence AOC regions is staggering, because these wines span different altitudes, soils and climates. One estate might yield a rosé that is imbued with herby flourishes of rosemary and oregano, while those around Cavaillon carry a hint of the local melon grown here since 1495. Whatever the region, however, two features give Provence rosé away every time: a hint of wild strawberry and a distinct minerality from the persistent mistral winds.
Whereas some rosé wines outside Provence are made from blending white and red, those made within the region are produced from red grapes with the skins removed after just a few hours into fermentation. This process produces a wine that is strong on summer fruit, herb and citrus aromas, without the chocolate, toffee and smoke aromas found elsewhere in aged red wines. The result is a light, extremely drinkable wine that loses nothing in character when served chilled.
Written by Nick Marshall
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