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Think pink for Valentine's Day

We are just days away from Valentine's Day, a holiday calling for roses, wine and chocolate! Let's cover the wine portion of that trio...by talking about rose`s. Many love to pop bottle of bubbly for Valentine's Day, but not everyone is a fan of sparkling wines. Rose`s are a nice light alternative to bubbles, and big reds.

Rose`s begin their journey as red wine grapes. Once the juice has been expelled, the skins are kept in contact with the fermenting juice for a very short time, from just a few hours to not quite a day. Because of this, the wine takes on a pink hue, ranging in color from barely blushed to deep pink, without retaining the other elements from the skins, namely the tannins and the astringency.

Think of a rose`, or blush, Rosado, or Rosato, as it also called, as the essence of the red wine grape...the flavor of the grape without the muscle. The biggest drawback to American rose`s is that, unless they are specifically labeled varietally (think White Zin), one cannot be sure which grapes are used. Because of well-established European wine laws, only certain grapes grown and vinified in specific areas, Old World rose`s are easier to identify. American wine marketers have done such a good job getting white zinfandel to the masses, many American wine consumers are not even aware that zinfandel is a traditionally a red wine (it's true!), and because of this, many rose`s are perceived as sweet wines.

But be brave, and try the rose` wines when you are out wine tasting. Many of them are artfully produced, with fruit expressed up front, but with a soft and elegantly dry finish. The blends of grapes used are not constrained by regionality, and could be anything from pinot noir to grenache to syrah to cabernet sauvignon. If you are a fan of both the bubbles and the blush, seek there are several sparkling rose`s available, too, that are equally elegant and pleasing to drink.

Go ahead and drink the pink this Valentine's Day. It just may become the new color of love in your world of wine.