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Taste of Wine


There is no more elegant bottle of wine than a well-crafted Rosé.  This hybrid wine that radiates pleasure, coolness and seduction always captivates me.


Rosé of course is not a grape varietal, it’s a style of wine; the artistry of a winemaker turned artist. Colors range from a peachy to a salmon look.  And it can mate up with a number of food pairings, especially in the summertime.

Sales have gone through the roof lately, with the largest Rosé wine country, Provence in the south of France, reporting a large increase in sales in the U.S. over the year before.

Provence has over 600 Rosé producers, enough to make it the world capital of Rosé, where the wine is at once lively, dry, aromatic and fruity.

To underline the importance of this wine to Provence, it is by and large the only wine produced in this district. In Provence, the red grapes used to make Rosé include:  Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cabernet, Caragnan and Tibouran.

Winemakers in the U.S. and elsewhere are using every other red varietal including Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.  In the appellation of La Londe, shown in the photo, the vineyards literally slide into the Mediterranean Sea.

Rosé can be a difficult wine to make.  Its delicate color and fresh aromas require skill and attention, as time is of the essence.

The pigments that give the wine its color are locked in the skins of the grapes and are dependent on how long these skins are in contact with the juice, or in other words, color depends on the amount of time the skins “macerate.”

Rosés are lighter and pink in tone because the grapes macerate for less time.

And that’s just the beginning. It takes about a year of care and attention to produce a dry, light, aromatic rosé.

The Provence people emphasize that when consuming their rosé, for the best tasting experience; drink it at 46 to 53 degrees.

The chilliness excites the senses and brightens the flavor. Age is not a factor here.  “Drink now,” as they say.

The wines of Provence are fascinatingly detailed in the book, “Provence Food and Wine, the Art of Living,” by Francois Millo and Viktorija Todorovska.  Visit for more.

The actor Brad Pitt and actress Angelina Jolie have acquired a Provence estate and are making Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé 2012 ($24).

In checking on the local San Diego Rose scene, I visited Jim and Bill Tobin and their North County Wine Company in San Marcos.

The Tobins have seen a noticeable uptick in sales, especially in the $8 to $17 range and it’s been year-round, not just confined to summer tasting.  Most buyers go for the Provence dry style Rosés.

They carry close to a dozen brands, and most buyers are younger women.  An impressive Rosé on the shelves this week is the Bella Vista Franciacorta Rosé 2008, a vintage Italian sparkling wine with the taste of apples, rose petals and sweet almonds ($47.97).

The international wine brand Freixenet has released a Spanish style Rosé called Mi’a by Barcelona winemaker Gloria Collell.  Visit

The California State Fair has come and gone and from it, the “Best of Show Pink” was a 2013 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel from Pedroncelli Winery of Sonoma ($12). This one racked up 98 points and a double gold medal along with Best of Class of Region.

Pedroncelli wine maker John Pedroncelli has been making this wine since the early 1950s. The appellation is the Dry Creek District, with well-drained rocky soils and hillsides.

Rosés in California have come a long way since the sweet “White Zinfandel” jug wine days.  The best are now exhibiting fruit-forward characteristics and crisp acidity…and that oh so sensual pink rosé look.

Wine Bytes

SDSU Business of Wine program has “Explore the Possibilities” at an Open House July 30 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Find out about the details on this professional approach to the world of wine.  For more information, call (619) 594-1138.

Vittorio’s in Carmel Valley has its once a month wine dinner event, July 31 starting at 6 p.m. Enjoy the wines of Dobb’s Family Estate in Oregon with over 214 acres in the Willamette Valley.  A five-course dinner has been paired, featuring Roast Duck Breast.  $49.50. Call (858) 538-5884 for an RSVP.

The Fourth Annual Rancho Bernardo Tasting Festival and Classic Car Show is Aug. 2 from 1 to 4pm at the Bernardo Winery, to benefit the Historical Society; wine, beer, lots of food, entertainment and a silent auction fill out the afternoon;  $24 advance, $30 at the door. Call for details at (760) 900-4277.

Kitchen 4140 in San Diego has a wine dinner July 30 at 6 p.m., partnering with Bex of Napa.  Cost is $100. Make your reservation by calling (858) 483-4140. Location is in the Marina District.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View and link up with his column at  Reach him


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