Last year I wrote about Eddie McDougall and his show, The Flying Winemaker, and this year he is coming back as the flying rosé man. As part of his three stops project, Singapore is the debut station for his Rosé Revolution 2015. And if you are like me, trying to balance the summer heat with some light tipple, then head down to Raffles Hotel’s Bar & Billiard Room on the May 23 to taste 20 remarkable rosé wines. But first, why rosé?
While rosé wines certainly taste less robust than most red wines, and some people take it that the colour is less pure than the pale white wines, the making of rosé wines is, in fact, more diverse and calls for greater precision. Don’t ever mistake rosé to be a product of adding red wine into white wine, that works for children who ran out of water-based pink colour. And of course, mixing white shirt with red underwear in the washing machine may have the same effect.
There are two primary ways to make rosé. One is to treat the red wine grapes as if the end product will be a white wine. Press them gently to avoid leaching out colour pigments from the grape skin, then control the exact hours, or down to the minutes, for grape skin contact, usually very brief, and out goes the skin and seeds before fermentation begins. This method known as direct press, is a common practice in Provence, France.
The second way is to drain off a small part of juice from a tank filled with red grape juice destined for red wine. This usually happens before fermentation starts, and the result is a slightly darker shade of rosé. The remaining content in the tank will make a concentrated red wine thus achieving two products within one harvest. Makes perfect business sense and a red wine that pleases those who prefer intense red wine.
In France, grape varieties that are known for making rosé generally hail from the south. Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre are common. The Italians do it with their Primitivo, Sangiovese, Corvina, and finally the Spaniards with their Tempranillo. Each of these can be robust and potent red wines, while some can even be highly tannic.
But when bottled in a rosé form, they show gentle elegance of the variety. Take away the tannin part, which affects the tactile sensation, then the balance between alcohol and acid becomes a lot more obvious. Acid is everything when you are drinking alcohol at 35 degrees Celsius.
What rosé can truly offer is its diversity of aromas, couple with a highly refreshing sensation.
For some reasons, rosé wines don’t get well accepted by the Singapore drinking community. There could be a few possible reasons. Pink is considered by some as gender biased, associated to certain social movement, and the top choice of colour for lingerie brands.
Possibly one of the greatest irony about rosé is how people here have perceived it as lesser value and cheap product when it is a still (non sparkling) wine. Yet when they are made in the sparkling form like rosé champagne, it rockets into premium super stardom.
“Rosé is not just pink and sweet. They can be complex and have quality, while being more aesthetically beautiful than red and white. Certainly more engaging to the eye.”
People in temperate countries see rosé as strictly a summer drink, but for Eddie, he sees rosé as a unique wine style that suits Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. “There are existing wine drinking population, but not indulging in rosé yet. Their cuisine and way of life is far more suitable to have rosé, over all 365 days.”
If you are keen to change your view about rosé, then this is a great opportunity to taste these wines with Eddie. Additionally, Eddie is kind enough to offer one ticket each to two readers of this site. All you need to do is email me and say you want a ticket and I will see to it you have one. While stock lasts!