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94 Degrees and a Rosé of Pinot... Grigio?

The heat was oppressive here in Vermont on Saturday, with temperatures reaching into the mid-90s, and the humidity only compounding the rising temperatures. As I watched the local farmers and merchants sweat beneath their umbrellas at the Burlington Farmer's Market, I knew that the afternoon would be spent finding ways to beat the heat. Unfortunately, still being in the process of rehabbing from knee surgery, I wasn't able to go swimming. So naturally (for me, anyways), my thoughts turned to wading in the water as far as my sutures would let me, and sipping on my summertime drink of choice: rosé.

For those of you who are interested, I did consider bringing Lambrusco as well, but I couldn't find any readily available. I suppose, like most trends, Lambrusco will be somewhat delayed in arriving to the Vermont scene. Nevertheless, I was not at all disappointed in having to bring the Calatroni "Unico" Rosé of Pinot Grigio on my trip to the Waterbury Reservoir.

Now, here's where some of you might do a slight double take. Did he just say Rosé of Pinot Grigio? I thought Pinot Grigio was a white grape? How are they making a rosé from white grapes?

Well, maybe you made the catch, and maybe you didn't. If you did, good for you. It's true that most rosés are made from red wine grapes, using one of the methods that I described in my earlier column on rosé (saignée (bleeding), shortened maceration period, and blending red wine and white wine). 

In this case, the wine is made with Pinot Grigio grapes, which are white wine grapes, but often have a grayish hue to the skins. However, in this case, the winery states that the soil type has 12% active calcium in it, and this attribute, along with the use of a specific rootstock that facilitates the absorption of calcium, gives the Pinot Grigio grape skins a dull red hue. As the grape skins are responsible for the color of red wines, Calatroni is able to produce use these Pinot Grigio grapes to make a rosé.

For those of you who love rosé, this is a unique and delicious example to add to your list. It is bright and lively, with good acidity, and a touch of effervescence - about the same as you'd find in a Vinho Verde. Bright red fruit aromas and flavors can be found throughout, with hints of apple and pear. These fruit flavors are balanced by subtle floral and mineral notes. Give it a try! Brought to Vermont by one of my favorite distributors, Artisanal Cellars, I have found it to be readily available at Burlington Wine Shop, although it may be available elsewhere as well.


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