Think pink!

From John, August 2nd, 2013
Think pink

Think pink

Given the present enthusiasm over pink wines, it is hard to believe that there was a time in the very recent past when my best bet at selling pink wine was to put a picture of Ché Guevera on the front label and call the wine “Vino Pinko”.  Now, thankfully, that has all changed.  Rosés, ramatos, rosattos, pink wines or whatever you want to call them now have an ardent following and so they should.

These wines bridge the gap between white and red wines and may be more versatile than either of the other two.  If made properly they can possess the acidity more common to white wines with some of the texture commonly found in reds.

And to make them properly requires some skills above the norm for making most wine.  That is because “balance” is more difficult to achieve in these wines given the contact with the skins which will extract sometimes bitter phenolics (tannins) without the more forceful flavors inherent in red wines to offset them.  It becomes a game of restraint versus extravagance;  pulling out sufficient color and texture while leaving the wine buoyant and fresh at the same time.

Too often producers of pink wines overburden them with sulfur dioxide and kill the freshness.  Or they extract too much color and tannin and leave them in no man’s land between rosés and reds.    In the other direction they shy from extracting sufficient color and texture and leave them in a place where they are in actuality more blanc de noirs than rosés.

The perfect pink wine, and there are many good ones out there, possess beautiful tones of color from orange to salmon pink to light strawberry.  They should have a hint of texture reminiscent of the grape from which they emanate.  There should be of firm acidity but not at the expense of the delicate flavors inherent in these wines.  In short, one should be drawn in to the wine by its color, captivated by its elegant aromas and finally conquered by its texture and lingering flavors.

To this end, we at Cameron have released (Summer 2013) an array of 3 pink wines from 3 different vintages, all fermented and aged in older neutral barrique for appropriate periods of time:  2010 Nebbiolo Pink (a late, cool vintage in which this variety was better suited to the realm of rosatto), 2011 Saignee of Pinot noir (feremented juice bled from fermenters of Abbey Ridge and Arley’s Leap Pinot noir) and 2012 Ramato of Pinot grigio (traditional Friulian Pinot grigio macerated on the skins for less than a day, pressed and fermented).

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