Thursday, 11 May 2017

DIY Rosé: A Futile Distraction

So the idea of mixing my own rosé from pre-existing reds and whites has taken hold of my imagination to such an extent that nothing will stop me brooding on its possibilities but a serious trial by wine, a spell at the kitchen table with a notepad and a misleading sense of purposeful enquiry. As it happens, I have to hand a bottle of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc my Bro-in-Law brought back from France, plus a South African Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Viognier mix which I bought on offer, reckoning that it might give me that Rhône Valley sensation, only more reliably and a tiny bit cheaper. Which I suppose it does, and with a full neck-straining 14.5% alcoholic content, so that's good. 

I have also done ten minutes' research into the question of mixing red + white to generate a rosé and find, to my slight chagrin, that it's not necessarily the barbarous mish-mash I took it for but a recognised - not by everybody, naturally - technique for achieving a rosé, if macerating grape skins isn't your thing. The key to a satisfactory rosé blend being to pick the right, harmonious, ingredients before you start, rather than grabbing the nearest two bottles and hoping for the best. Chardonnay and Grenache are tipped as likely candidates, neither of which I currently have. Which then reminds me of some sagacious observations made by LondonPerson a few weeks back on the best way to secure drinkable wine for not much and that maybe I should take his advice before starting; only to reflect that LondonPerson sounds a good deal more organised than I shall ever be, with the result that in the space of three minutes I have come back to my original, uncoordinated white + red and there the matter rests.

So I start with a sip of the white, still holding up very nicely, just to remind myself of what I'm adulterating. Then a seductively transgressive moment in which I replace the white I've just sipped with a splash of red, not more than a ten-to-one ratio, and wait for the ghostly swirls of colour to settle down. Taste-wise? Not much different from the initial white - partly because I have the stuff down at a polar chill, partly because the white is such a fruity take on Sauvignon Blanc that nothing is really going to impact on it - but then, right at the end, maybe, there's a kind of persistent terminal rustiness that wasn't there before?

Only option is to up the red. The drink in the glass now looks like a really bad shaving cut, but on I go. Initially it tastes much as before, only after half a minute the tannins seem to run riot, with the result that at the end of a flavoursome swig my lips are stitched together and my cheeks are hollow enough to mix plaster in. This cannot be right.

It is then and only then that I stop to ask myself, Do I even like rosé enough to want to create an ersatz version? This is clearly a question I should have dealt with some days or even years ago, but it's out in the open now and there is, frankly, no clear answer. Of course I like a nice rosé from time to time, but nice is such an undependable quality in this context that I hesitate to use it, especially since my kind of rosés are, as often as not, not nice at all, but determinedly crappy. In other words, just because something seems like a good idea, doesn't make it a good idea. How many times?

So I take out an as-yet unopened bottle of the stuff to check what rosé is meant to taste like and to remind myself of why I might want to drink it in the first place. Actually, it's a chi-chi Cinsault/Syrah blend which I've been ogling for a week or so in the scurf and neglect of the wine rack and it's not bad in the slightly disappointing rosé way, some air freshener notes, quite well integrated, bit of acidity. Also, it bears no relationship to my DIY stuff, apart from the colour. It is a nice, underwhelming, drink, whereas the home-made stuff is now terrible, there's no getting away from it. It's lousy. In other words, I have just spent half an hour making a bad version of something I only half-like anyway. I also have three open, very slightly-consumed bottles of wine sitting on the kitchen table, which is an authentic waste of space.

Still. Someone's coming over to our place for a meal this evening. He might turn out to be a fan of bad fake upsetting rosé wine and there's my evening's entertainment in one.

CJ







No comments:

Post a Comment