Blush wine, also known as rose (roh-ZAY), is made from red grapes. The juice is left in contact with the skins for hours–not days or weeks so that the color comes out pink instead of red. Blush wines can be chilled and consumed like white wines.
White zinfandel is by far the most popular blush wine consumed in the United States. Blush wines labeled “white” are usually sweet in taste, but there are some drier blush wines. Blush wines sometimes get a bad rap because they fall between white and red wines, but try one with lunch, during a brunch, or when red wine just seem too heavy
Perhaps best known in Provence and Tavel, rose is a great pink wine. Rarely super complex, and not to be aged, good roses are tart and fruity, and cut through the garlicky aioli so often accompanying fish and fish stews in the Mediterranean. Roses are also good choices for cold luncheons, picnics and buffets. They are made from red wine grapes, and during fermentation have minimal skin contact so they don’t pick up too much color from the grape skins.
White Zinfandel is a light pink ”blush” wine made in California from early-picked Zinfandel grapes. The red grapes are quickly separated from their skins during crushing and fermentation so that the resulting wine is very light pink; thus White Zinfandels have far less color, alcohol and flavors than normally fermented Zinfandels. Because early-picked grapes tend to be high in acidity, most White Zinfandels are made in a sweet style (with various amounts of residual–unfermented–sugar) to balance the acidity. Sutter Home Winery (located in the Napa Valley) was one of the first wineries to promote White Zinfandels, which are simply a light rose wine.
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