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Kosher Rose

It’s still cold out there but it’s never too early to talk kosher Rose, especially since many people like to use Rose for the four cups since it is lighter than red wine, and preferable to using white wine.

If you go back ten years, the only rose that you may have been familiar with would have been the sweet version known as White Zinfandel, and more than likely the Baron Herzog version.

Fast forward ten years, and there are a huge number of kosher Rose available from all over the world and at all price points.  Before getting into what’s available, let me briefly describe the three ways in which rose wine is made.

Limited Maceration:

This is the first step of the first two options and the only difference is what you do with the rest of the juice after you remove it.  The color of the juice from red grapes is clear to green and to get red wine it requires the juice to lie on the grape skins – AKA maceration.  The rose hue depends on how long the juice macerates. The longer the juice macerates the darker the color. Now once you remove the liquid, after letting it macerate for the desired length of time, the skins that are left are thrown out or placed in the field to feed organic material into the vines.

This is an expensive approach because the grapes are being thrown away, instead of doing the Saignée process which is described below. This approach is mainly used in regions where rose wine is as important as red wines.  Grapes are grown and selected exclusively for rosé production, and then often crushed as whole clusters, and then gently pressed until the juice reaches the desirable color.

Saignée:

The second approach for how Rose wine is made, is essentially the same as maceration – the only difference is that they do not remove all the juice.  The grapes are destined for red wine and to concentrate the red wine, the winemaker will bleed some of the juice – hence the term Saignée in French which means bleed. By removing this juice, after the juice has macerated long enough, the resulting wine is further intensified, because there is less juice lying on the same amount of grape skin surface.

Blending Method:

The last method is the least common method for making rose and involves mixing some white wine with some red wine.  While uncommon for still wine, it is very common in the world of Champagne and sparkling wines.

While Rose wine is typically a warm weather wine meant to be drunk chilled, many people like to use rose for the seder since it is lighter than your average red wine.  At the Pesach wine sale, there will be a large selection of rose wines from which to choose, although as we approach the summer months, the Men’s Club will offer additional opportunities to stock up with white and rose wine for your summer drinking.

Now, because rose wines macerate for such a short period of time, the color and flavor components are less stable and as such, they lack shelf life.  Many wine snobs and experts will tell you that for most rose wines you should only drink the prior year vintage.  This means that during 2021 you should not drink any rose that was not harvested in 2020.  Anything older will not be as crisp or fresh, and while that may be true, I don’t think most of us will be able to notice the subtle differences.

My personal opinion is that it is very much a hit or miss approach with the kosher rose market.  What was good in 2019 was not as good in 2020, and while price is usually an indicator, when it comes to rose it is not.  Well established names are also no guarantee.  Also, recommendations from the wine writers were not consistent, and therefore it was hard to find something universally recommended.  Last year I tried probably close to 20 rose wines with my wife, and she hated most of them.

For now, my recommendation would be to try different roses, but only buy one until you confirm that you like it.  I’m happy to make recommendations and will have more as we approach the summer.

Don't forget to place your wine order.

Sat, December 4 2021 30 Kislev 5782