Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Rosé by Any Other Name?

I was puzzled about a Rioja wine in the May 15 Vintages release: Muga Rosé 2009. The winemaker’s website says it’s a blend of Garnacha (60%), Viura (30%), and Tempranillo (10%). Viura is a white varietal, so at first blush -- yes, I know -- I thought they made this rosé by blending red wine and white wine together. Only one problem. The EU still forbids making rosé by blending red wine and white wine. So what’s going on?

Turns out that there’s nothing forbidden with mixing red grapes and white grapes together to make rosé, as long as they start out together from the very start of the vinification process. What you can't do is mix unfermented red juice and white juice together to make a rosé. And you can’t mix red wine and white wine together to make a rosé.  In the EU, that is.  Those methods are allowed elsewhere.

Muga puts the Garnacha, Viura, and Tempranillo grapes together right at the start, macerates the grape juice with the grape skins for 12 hours, drains the juice from the skins, and then ferments the wine for 25 days in large oak vats. It remains in the oak vats for 2 months before bottling.

The result? It has a pale salmon colour with orange hues. Aromas of sour cherry, red apple, some minerality, and lime. Wonderful acidity, with flavours of apple and cherry. Medium-bodied with good length.

Rosé…red and white grapes together…it’s great value at $13, I’ll buy more!

(My thanks to Jesus Viguera at Bodega Muga for his enlightenment.)

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Dave,
    I was at a group tasting last week and when I mentioned I had a blog, someone suggested I look you up. I'm so glad I did. Your blog is very informative and I quite like your wine descriptions. I'll be following you!