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Jonathan’s thinking pink (wine) for summer

Patrick Ballow, wine department manager at Jonathan’s of La Jolla, is expanding its already unmatched collection of internationally acclaimed wines by establishing a special section dedicated to the world’s greatest dry rose selections.

The most celebrated dry roses hail from the Provence region of France where wines are made mostly from traditional Rhone varietals. Being France’s oldest wine-growing region, wine producers have had centuries to adapt their wines to the local Mediterranean cuisine, considered to be the quintessential match for dry rose.

Dry rose is made by removing the pigmented skins from the juice prior to fermentation to limit color absorption. Though its color may vary from almost clear to nearly red, most roses fall within what most would consider a pink or salmon color.

This process results in a fresh-tasting wine with the nuances of classic reds without the influence of tannin.

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American consumers have clearly learned that these versatile wines are a fantastic alternative to traditional reds and whites. According to a recent Nielson Company study, rose consumption grew by 49.1 percent on volume for the 52 weeks ending February 9, 2008.

This growth is nearly 17 times faster than the volume growth of table wine.

Rose Avengers and Producers, a dry rose advocate group, is helping to champion the style here in the United States. Jeff Morgan, co-founder of the group, is pleased to see fine wine merchants like Jonathan’s providing more visibility for premium dry roses.

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He describes this style as “not white, not red, but somewhere in between that pairs well with every type of savory dish imaginable.” Not only versatile with food, he adds that rose is perhaps the greatest value in the marketplace as the world’s best are typically available for under $20.

Virtually every important wine region now produces a rose, and Ballow has searched far and wide to offer the very best. The newly created rose section at Jonathan’s offers nearly two dozen choices from California and around the world.

Final selections were made based upon their purity of fruit and complexity. “The beauty of rose is that it has so many dimensions of flavor; similar to pinot noir,” says Ballow.

Ballow stresses the versatility of rose. He encourages people to try it chilled as a poolside quaffer or as an accompaniment to all sorts of foods. “In Provence they wake up in the morning drinking their rose with crepes,” Ballow quips. Veal is his personal favorite to pair with these wines.

Jonathan’s will be showcasing their new rose selections with a tasting on Saturday, June 14th between 3 to 5 p.m. The cost is $10 and includes a sampling of light snacks to compliment the affair.

Recommendation: Chinon Rose 2006, $13 Jonathan’s of La Jolla: Rich salmon in color and light + in weight. Red apple, citrus, cherries, and pasilla pepper. Medium acidity with little or no residual sugar, the fruit remains juicy throughout. This wine is a fabulous value and could provide the backdrop for just about any fresh light- to medium bodied dish you could throw at it. 12.5 percent alcohol, 89 points.

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