The French call the wine rosé, its name coming from its color association with the flower. Humankind has been in love with it for the longest time – 2,500 years ago, this iconic flower is already being cultivated in China, Persia and the Mediterranean.
Rosés - flirtatious in looks and colour, range in complexion from a light pink copper to peachy pink to bright ruby. Whatever their hue, they are produced from red grapes. However, instead of fermenting the juice in contact with the skin, juice and skin are left in contact for several hours before fermentation. During this ‘soak’, some colour is leached from the skins and the juice becomes ‘stained’ – the process is known by the French as ‘saignee’ or ‘bleeding’.
Wherever your rosés are from, make sure you serve them at a temperature between cool and cold. Don’t over chill the elegant wine because you then numb its delicate floral/red fruit personality.
Champagne is the wine most associated with celebration. Think of weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, rekindling an old flame - champagne does it all. Nothing marks an occasion more than the distinctive popping of the cork.
Gerard Liger-Belair, a physics professor at the University of Reims, the capital city of the Champagne region of France, has scientifically calculated that each glass or flute of champagne contains about 1,000,000 bubbles. Now we know why we feel so happy and light-hearted when drinking champagne! After all, all those bubbles are carbon dioxide naturally released into the champagne when the wine underwent its famous secondary fermentation.
The first fermentation is like any other fermentation where grape juice is fermented and becomes wine. The wine from this is usually between 10 and 11% in alcohol and very acidic.
The secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. A dosage of yeast and a small amount of sugar called the liqueur de triage is added. Carbon dioxide is released, and the signature bubbles are therefore formed!