Let's face it, it's been a rough week for Arizona, even with that veto. SB 1062 has made our fair state the butt of jokes across the country. Many of us are responding to pleas from our friends elsewhere to get out of here, what were we thinking, moving to this bass-ackwards state?
I'd like to take a moment to celebrate Arizona. This is otherwise the best time of year here. The rest of the country is buried in snow while we bask in 80 degree temperatures. Spring training starts this week. Soon the whole city will be perfumed by the heavenly aroma of citrus blossoms and, best of all, the Arizona wines of 2013 are beginning to be released. I refuse to allow a few jackass politicians to take all of that away from us.
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My favorite part about spring, which here in Phoenix starts mid-February, is that we get to start tasting the fruits of last year's grape harvest. The wines that require the least amount of time to produce and get into the bottle are being released as I write this; specifically any unoaked whites and, best of all, the roses.
Very few wines, or products of any sort, fit Arizona better than rose. It's not white, it's not red, it's pink, dry, cold and amazingly suited to our climate, not to mention delicious. Lucky for us, fantastic roses are being produced by some really talented winemakers right here in bass-ackwards Arizona.
Rose is made up of the juice of red grapes that only have contact with the skins for a short time. Grape skins are what give red wine its color and if you limit the time the juice has with them then you only get minimal color: Pink. Sometimes winemakers bleed off some of the juice of their red wine production to concentrate the reds in a process called saignee. Other winemakers harvest the grapes specifically to make pink wine. Either way, skin contact for roses lasts from a few hours to a couple of days or so, after which the juice is fermented.
Once the juice is fermented, well, it's wine. Roses rarely get any oak treatment and are therefore some of the earliest wines available to market. I'm fairly certain that rose production is a purely selfish enterprise, so that winemakers have something to drink while waiting for their other wines to mature. Fortunately for us these winemakers do sell some of this rose so we can enjoy it also.
Dos Cabezas recently released their rose, called, simply "Pink," and other Arizona wineries either have or are soon going to release theirs as well. Including Pillsbury's "One Night Stand," Sand Reckoner's "Rose," Caduceus Cellars "Lei-Li," and a slew of others. Do yourself, and Arizona, a favor and go out and purchase some rose, it's perfect for our warm weather, it's delicious, and I can't help but feel like there's something subtly subversive about drinking pink wine in light of recent political events.
When I'm not writing this column, or reading vintage charts to my daughter, you can find me pouring wine at FnB.