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Friday, September 11, 2015

50 Shades of Red

There must be at least 50 shades of reds and rosés.  For sake of brevity, I’m narrowing mine to 5 which are listed below, starting with the darkest and ending with the lightest.

Deepest Red: 
Syrah is the darkest colored wine of any varietal.   These deep color pigments are also anti-oxidants, hence, exert a protective cardiac function.    My favorite Syrah, without question, is Guigal’s La Turque…the earth moved when I first sipped it nearly 15 years ago.  If you don’t want to splurge on this Rhone rendition, opt for Alban Syrah from California Central Coast which is a superbly crafted alternative.

Medium Red:
Grenache is the clear winner here for me.  This grape has been made popular by winemakers in the Rhone Valley and Spain, however, it’s becoming increasing popular in the U.S. as a light-bodied red that can pair well with fish and poultry.  Chateauneuf de Papes are Grenache-based.  Try Chateaux  Beaucastel, Le Nerthe or Rayas for France’s best.  If you’re looking for a California version, you can’t beat the Central Coast’s Sine Qua Non.      

Light Red:
Pinot Noir falls into this category, however, there are easily 10 shades of this varietal at any moderate-sized wine emporium.  Pinot’s skin, which is thin and delicate, has only a small amount of color pigments thus these wines can be very light in color.   If it were a special occasion (and price were not a huge stumbling block) I would opt for a Red Burgundy such as Drouhin’s  Clos de Mouche.  If it were a special occasion and I needed to mindful of price, I would choose  Dehlingner (Russian River, California).

Billecart-Salmon’s Brut Rosé Champagne immediately comes to my mind for the premier choice in this shade grouping.  Made from approximately 30% of Pinot Noir, the color is a show-stopper.  Why not have a pure love-fest with the coral and serve it with smoked salmon appetizers?

Light Pink: 
I’m not a fan of any brand related to Hollywood celebrities.  My husband recently brought home several bottles of Miraval (Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Rosé from Provence.)   Reluctantly I tried it and was wowed by its complexity.  These two have a serious Oscar contender for Rosé.

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