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Jun 13, 201808:05 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

Doth A Rosé by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?

Well, does it? In this new age of rosé-style wine appreciation, it appears the acceptable product definition is all over the sensory-sense map. The color can be very light, pinkish going all the way to light red. The bouquet can be from light floral to full-on garden. And the weight can be from water-like to just short of a major big wine.

In short, if you have resisted rosé wines because they are wimpy, sweet, without character, you are very much behind the times. We are in full rosé season, but in truth, in our part of the world, these wines answer the call year-round. They are perfect with fresh seafood, heavier desserts, or just sitting around and quaffing. There are no limitations as to when or how this style of wine can be enjoyed.

There are really two main methods of manufacture to make rosé wines in a quality fashion. The first is for the vineyard manager and winemaker to plan from the beginning and know that the red grapes grown and harvested will become rosé wine. The grapes are brought into the winery after harvest then very lightly crushed. The resulting juice, known as “must,” remains in contact with the grapes’ skins for a short period of time, usually less than 10 hours, sometimes as little as 2 hours, depending on the intensity of the pigment imparted by the skins to the must.

The second method, saignee, a French term meaning “to bleed”, removes some of the must from the red grapes pressing after a short period of time. In this case, the grapes were not harvested exclusively for rosé wine. The lighter juice is sent to a separate process which results in rosé wine. The now concentrated heavier juice is made into red wine which possesses more weight, depth of character and qualities desired by the winemaker for the red wine program.

There is another method, which is to take the must from both red grapes and white grapes and mix them together. This process is banned in many areas, but this is exactly how Champagne rosé is made.

The pressing from any red grape must can be made into a rosé wine. Usually the grapes used are syrah, grenache, cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir but each wine-producing country has its own indigenous red grapes and these form the basis of that country’s efforts, along with a raft of lesser, more geographically focused, even obscure, grape varietals.

Quality rosés, and here is the most important point of this article, are NOT SWEET. The purpose of this style of wine, rosé, is for a different expression of a top-quality grape. Sometimes the ripening of the fruit, or bouquet development, or the rounding of all of the character cannot be achieved with winery controls or meteorological conditions. By taking another route to the final effort, the result is superior than just allowing the usual path to fermentation and development which may end with mediocrity.

If you have shunned rosé wines, why not open your mind and your mouth? Give the pink a chance to enchant.  





Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Wednesdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails in New Orleans, every month in New Orleans Magazine.



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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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