The last time we put rosé on our cover was in 1986, almost 30 years ago.
Ever since zinfandel was transformed into something pink and sweet to manage a glut in the grape market, its very success created trouble for rosé in this country. It might be made from red grapes picked early to help ripen the remaining fruit, or juice bled from the tanks to strengthen the remaining red. Any miscellaneous juice could be packaged as a blush and sold on the cheap.
Today, an increasing number of producers in California are taking rosé seriously. Rather than creating pink wine out of leftovers, they are farming grapes specifically to make rosé. When we decided to focus this issue on rosé, Elaine Chukan Brown took on a challenge from W&S West Coast editor Luke Sykora to profile some of the most intriguing new producers of great California rosé. And contributing writer Silvestro Silvestori, who runs the Awaiting Table cooking school in Puglia, offered up some of the region’s best recipes for the local rosé—wines with backbone and personality, and food to match. Meanwhile, our panels and critics tasted through 430 new-release rosés to help you find some great summer drinking.
It was about 20 years ago when Tara Q. Thomas got turned onto wine while working in Greece. She returned to Athens this spring, hoping to find a wine like the one she first fell for from savatiano, the local grape most often hidden under pine resin and presented as retsina. She found a number of growers treating the grape with respect: In fact, presented on its own, savatiano is making a comeback.
And I have to admit, it was a lot longer than 20 or 30 years ago when I got turned onto wine in Galicia, Spain, a place to which I had never returned until this spring. I spent four days exploring Rías Baixas, Ribeiro and Monterrei, too short a time (and too short of breath for a pick up soccer match), but long enough to catch up with the producers who are growing some of the most compelling wines in Galicia. I’ve shared a bit of my homecoming in this issue, as has Tara, profiling summer whites that provide a clear alternative to the pinks.
This story appears in the print issue of August 2014.
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