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Greg Horton

Summer is rosé season. As Oklahoma temperatures creep closer to the triple-digit mark, drinking red wines becomes less pleasant. It is true that you can chill a Beaujolais or a light Pinot Noir, making them far more drinkable in the summer heat, but it is much easier and less expensive to go with rosé.

Rosé is typically made in one of two ways: a method known as saignée which involves bleeding juice from the vats where red wine is being made, or by allowing the juice to be in contact with the skins for a sufficient amount of time to change the color of the juice. For winemakers who intend to make rosé from the beginning, the preferred method is skin contact. There are examples of both kinds of rosé in Oklahoma.

The benefit of rosé is that the dryness and structure of the red wine is partially preserved. Rosé is not White Zinfandel; good rosé should be dry, not sweet, and it should have noticeable tannins. They are best served chilled, but not cold.

Wine that is refrigerated or put on ice for two long will need to warm up a bit before it delivers what the winemaker intended, including notes on the nose and on the palate.

Justin Harmon is the owner and winemaker for Argot Wines and their sister label, Slang. Harmon makes his rosé by the skin contact method because he believes that produces the best rosé. It’s hard to argue with him once you taste Slang Rosé, his rosé of Grenache.

Grenache is currently enjoying increased interest in the U.S. The varietal has traditionally been associated with Rhone Valley wines from France, where it is typically blended with Syrah and Mourvedre to make some of the world’s finest wines, or with Garnacha (as it’s known in Spain), where it’s used to make rich, dry, affordable red wines.

For a completely different experience of rosé, A to Z Wineworks makes a rosé of Tempranillo, another traditionally Spanish varietal, but they are located in Dundee, OR. The A to Z rosé is bright red with tons of berry and melon fruit. It’s still dry, but the abundance of fruit almost tricks you into believing otherwise.

France has been making rosé as far back as wine has been made, and tradition holds that the inexpensive rosé was used to pay agricultural workers, especially vineyard workers. Whatever its origin, France still makes some of the world’s best rosé. The region of Tavel only makes rosé, and the Chateau de Trinquevedel is one of the best examples of this region and style. It is bone dry, and fans of red wines will surely love the structure and food-friendly acid.

Another French rosé, Charles Bieler’s Sabine rosé, is from Provence, and has all the subtlety the region is known for. This one won’t blow you away with fruit, but the balance is impressive. Also, you can find the Bieler Sabine in kegs around Oklahoma City now, in places like Packard’s and Urban Johnnie.

Keg wines are increasing in popularity because the wine stays fresh longer, allowing merchants to buy a larger amount and pass the savings on to customers. The keg wines taste just like wine from a bottle, so enjoy without reservation. As they say in the wine business, Drink Pink.

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