Now that warm weather is upon us, it’s time to dust off the swim trunks, claim a place on the pool chairs and enjoy the new season’s bounty of wines.

The Details

I hereby declare it rosé season. Rosé’s crisp acid balanced with lightly refreshing fruit creates the perfect accompaniment to enjoy with a poolside lunch. In my Passover case that meant handmade matzoh, whipped cream cheese, homemade gravlax, and fresh pineapple and strawberries with the 2018 Ramon Cardova Rioja Rosado (Spanish for rosé), $10, available locally and online.

The Backstory

2018 Ramon Cardova Rioja Rosado
You can rose all day with the 2018 Ramon Cardova Rioja Rosado. (Photo by Dr. Kenneth Friedman)

Let’s discuss what rosé is and how it’s made. Red wine’s color comes from the skin of red grapes sitting in the juice during the winemaking process. Rosé wine gets its beautiful pink color from the skins staining the juice for a very short time — from just minutes to several hours, depending on the winemaker’s preference.

There are three methods of creating the pretty in pink wine we know as rosé.

  1. Maceration: The most common method, in which the entire batch of grapes is left to sit before the juice is removed from the skins.
  2. Saignée method: Occasionally, a winemaker wants to concentrate or fortify their red wine, and some of the juice is “bled” (saignée) into another vat to create rosé wine.
  3. Coupage/Blending: Like creating the color pink when you’re in art class, the winemaker takes a little red wine and blends it with the white wine to create rosé. Although this is an uncommon method, it is how this particular wine is created.

Tasting Notes & Pairings

The 2018 Ramon Cardova Rosado, is a Spanish Rioja created as a coupage, or a blend of 80% Garnacha and 20% Viura. The wine is a very light, pale pink color, and is one of the lighter rosés you’ll find in the market, similar in appearance to the famed Provencal style of the Rhone Valley in France.

These pale pink wines are often bursting with acid, which I prefer for rosé. The Cardova Rosado has notes of light red fruits, strawberries and plenty of mineral. While the acid is bracing, there is a sweet fruit core that balances the wine nicely.

This is a wine made for light, friendly, fun meals and warm weather. Its wallet-friendly price point allows you to open a second bottle for those lazy laps around the pool.

An Important Note

Dr. Kenneth Friedman
Dr. Kenneth Friedman (Provided Photo)

Because of how rosé is made, it is best consumed in its year of release. Avoid buying old vintages of rosé pushed to the market by shop owners and distributors.

Dr. Kenneth Friedman is a Baltimore-born kosher wine aficionado/connoisseur. He is known for his unsolicited wine advice and runs many local kosher wine tastings.