In ancient times, red wines were more like rosé than the hearty, deep-hued and tannic red wines that we drink today. Lighter colored wines were more desirable and considered to be of a higher quality than wines that would see longer skin contact and have darker hues.
A great example of this can be seen in Clarets – today, these Bordeaux style red wines are dry, dark in color, and present concentrated flavors. In the Middle Ages, however, Claret wines (clairet in French) were actually light-bodied, fruity and easy drinking.
From about the 5th Century through to the Middle Ages, Champagne was producing still, pink colored wines made from Pinot Noir. These wines were made to compete with popular red wines from Burgundy, but the climate of Champagne would result in grapes whose juice was low in sugar, high in acidity and thin-bodied. In some cases, elderberries were added to improve the taste and darken the color of the wine.
After Dom Pérignon was able to perfect the technique of making truly white wine from red grapes in the 17th Century, some of these “white wines” would be re-colored with red wine to produce rosé for those who still wished to consume pink wine.
At Camelot we bring in the juice that has been sitting with the grape skins for a certain amount of time. The skin contact stays with the juice for a few hours and then strain the skins off which brings out the pink, blush, salmon color that you see. Some of the aromas found in rosé include raspberry, strawberry, almond, banana, grapefruit and even cut hay. Our California Sauvignon Blanc Rosé has tropical notes of pineapple and peach with raspberries and cherry.
Rosés are not meant to be cellared. Rather, they should be consumed within one year for best quality. No excuses, drink up!