As the balmy days of summer continue, and with the High Holidays arriving in the warmer part of the year, why not seek out a drink that will not only quench thirst and complement worship, but refresh and re-energize as well?
This season, try a kosher rosé -- pleasantly pink and light as a summer aperitif. Eighty percent of rosés in America are made by the saigné method, liberating the purest free-run juice.
Much has been written about rosés, as they make a quiet comeback to the wine table. There is true satisfaction in a dry, cold rosé. First, understand what rosé wines are: Good ones are dry. There's no added sugar. A good rosé no way connects to white Zinfandel or any other pinkish-looking wine.
Rosé is made from red grapes; it does not constitute a blend of red and white grapes. The juice from the freshly pressed grapes stay fermenting with the skins of the red grapes for a brief period, and that is how the wine gets its color -- pink!
Actually, just as pink blends between the colors of red and white, so do the levels of rosés vary in dryness. Most oenologists (specialists in winemaking) will tell you that the best rosés are dry as a bone, but the kosher marketplace offers an assortment of flavors traversing along the dryness scale.
The Ramim winery in Israel, for example, offers a pleasantly sweet rosé that exudes rich strawberry, banana, juicy red fruit, and floral aromas and flavors. It makes for a fine dessert wine.
While in Israel, Binyamina presents a rosé in its new Yogev collection, identified by the pink label and containing a light Cab-Zinfandel blend.
France is represented by a delightful Domaine Lafond Tavel selection. As predictable, this pink is high up the dry meter, but the quality shines through to whet the appetite.
From Italy comes Opinioni's Mount Olivo Rosé. A light bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, made by the famous Italian winemaker Ricardo Cotarella, it demonstrates floral aromas leading to crisp acidity and faint raspberry.
A domestic off-dry favorite from California can be found in the Baron Herzog Rosé of Cabernet, which is refreshing, aromatic, soft and well-balanced. It has hints of plum, berry and cherry.
The 2006 Barkan Shiraz Rosé, an Israeli rose-petal shade of pink, is a medium-bodied, crisply dry wine, displaying evident berry and citrus aromas and flavors.
The strong finish is in no hurry to depart Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne (best selling in the world) from Old World France, for mavens willing to splurge, as it sells for at least $100 a bottle. It offers a taste emitting memorable raspberry, strawberry and walnut flavors, and aims to impress with its late-17th-century embossed bottle reproduction. All grapes in the blend come exclusively from 10 100-percent-rated Grand Cru vineyards.
A final observation when searching for a rosé: Rosé is not always marked on the label (a rose by any other name?), yet it can be clearly distinguished by its pink hue.