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Entries in wine (2)


Summer Sippin' Rose

Congrats Chicago, it's officially summer! Time to beat the heat with crisp refreshing pink wine. I'm not talking about that sweet flabby wine labeled White Zinfandel. I'm talking about the pink juice that has made a fashionable comeback… rosé!

Rosé wines can be found at wine retail stores 365 days a year, but summer is by far the most popular time of the year to for rosé. It's fun, refreshing and goes with all types of foods coming off the grill.

The Process

Rosé is produced around in the world in all major wine regions and from all kinds of red grapes. Let's remember our wine 101 lesson:
1) The juice from a grape is clear
2) It's the skin of the grape that gives the color and tannin.
3) The longer the juice sits in contact with the skins, the more color it retains.

Rosé is (mostly) produced by allowing the juice to remain in contact with the skins for a short while before being pressed and then fermented into wine. This short contact gives the beautiful pink hue and adds fruit flavors like strawberry and watermelon. The wines are fully fermented resulting in a dry wine with alcohol content near 12-15%.

The Places

The most well-known rosé wines come from the southern regions of France. If you're new to the game, I'd start with a simple Cotes-du-Rhone rosé. These rosés have playful light red fruit flavors, floral aromas, minerality and subtle spice, with plenty of crisp acidity to stand up to grilled chicken, burgers and pork. One of my favorites is Domaine de la Mordoree's Cotes du Rhone Rosé "La Dame Rousse". This is a famous producer known for superb quality rose wines year after year. 

If you want a rose with more body, depth, and complexity, then choose one from the Rhone appellation of Tavel. This region specializes in rose production and is sure to leave a lasting impression on your palate.

If it's more ripe fruit forward roses that you're after, look to warm climate new world countries like Chile, Argentina, Australia, and California. A favorite of mine this season is Alexander Valley Vineyards' dry Rosé of Sangiovese. Super juicy and delicious flavors of ripe strawberry, watermelon, and raspberry!

The Price

Perhaps the best fact about rose wines is the price. Most high quality rose wines retail for $10-$20, with some quality wines coming in under $10, and the "best of the best" being over $20.

The Pairings

A general rule of thumb with rosé is to drink them young while they're freshest. It's that crisp fresh acidity that lifts the fruit and makes them wonderful pairings with all those different foods you'll find at a backyard BBQ. Grilled meats, veggies, summer salads, cheeses… you name it and the rosé will compliment it.

I encourage you to have fun and experiment with buying as many different rose wines from different countries around the globe. I promise it will be a ton of fun under the sun and you won't be disappointed!

Photo credits: wine + seabottles


Wines by Mike Matonte

Part of the Second City Soiree Monday Contributor Series. Mike is on Twitter @VinoMike. Read his full bio here.


The Flavor of Wine: New World vs. Old World

Mondays are "contributor days" at Second City Soiree. Our newest contributor, sommelier Mike Matonte, is happy to share his passion with casual drinkers and fellow experts alike. Follow him on Twitter @VinoMike


Hello and thanks for checking out my first post on the fabulous SecondCitySoiree.com! The world of wine is vast and diverse. That makes it fun, but it can also be overwhelming. Wine is simple, it really is! My goal with these posts is to bring that simplicity and comfort to you, and help you along the way with learning more about the greatest beverage on earth!

As a member of The Court of Master Sommeliers, one must learn to taste wines blind.  Through the sight, aroma, and taste, the sommelier must conclude the grape, region, and vintage of that wine. Before concluding exactly what the wine is, the sommelier will first determine if the wine is “Old World” or “New World.” Learning the difference between Old World and New World will greatly help you out with your selection of wines to enjoy for yourself as well as what you want to pour for your guests. The difference is...

Old World is any wine that is produced in Europe.
New World is any wine produced anywhere else on the planet. 

Here are some general characteristics about these two styles:


Old World

Europe, the motherland of wine production! Viticulture dates back for… well, a really, really, long time! The rich tradition, culture, and history makes European wines more about WHERE they come from and less about what grapes they are made from. This is what makes these regions so difficult to learn because most labels tell you only where the wine is from. We’ll touch on this in future postings. 

Alcohol Level - Lower (don’t worry, not too low and not all wines from Europe are low)
Acidity - Higher (makes them taste fresh and lively with a little bit more zing)
Fruit Flavors - More subtle (think of a dried cherry vs. a fresh cherry)
Earthy Flavors - More pronounced


New World

These are wines from the major regions of the world that are not part of Europe. Major growing regions include Chile and Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and of course the USA.  These tend to be warmer climates with excellent growing conditions.

Alcohol Level - Higher (woo-hoo!) due to higher levels of ripeness
Acidity - Lower, which can make a wine a bit softer and easy-drinking
Fruit Flavors - Ripe and fresh (Think about biting into a bunch of fresh blackberries. Now think about drinking a glass of Napa Valley Cabernet!)
Earthy Flavors - Subtle


Wines to try side-by-side

Try these pairings at your next party...what a great way to learn about taste preferences!

New World Old World
Chardonnay California France (Burgundy region)
Pinot Gris Oregon Pinot Grigio from Italy
Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand France (Loire Valley)
Riesling Washington State or Australia  
Germany or France
Pinot Noir California France (Burgundy region)
Cabernet Sauvignon  
Napa Valley France (Bordeaux region
Shiraz Australia Syrah from France (Rhone region)


Wines by Mike Matonte

Part of the Second City Soiree Monday Contributor Series. Mike is on Twitter @VinoMike. Read his full bio here.

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