Blush My A**


Okay, so I’m about to go out on book tour again, and there is something needling me– just a wee needle in the otherwise massive haystack of life and its challenges. Allow me to rant a bit.

Rosé is often my go-to selection when it comes to wine. I love it. And I’m not talking about Lancers. Or White Zinfandel. Or Blush. Some of you might love that pink sweetness and that’s just fine with me. It’s none of my business. Personally, it makes me gag and I want no affiliation with it, truth be told. I take my palate way too seriously, and if I’m going to have a sweet wine, I’ll take a nice Vin Santo or Sauterne or Port after my meal. Sorry if I sound like a snob, but in this case I’ll admit it: I am.

And so are a whole bunch of other people out there who were traumatized by their mother’s Blush in the box when they snuck some from the fridge at an early age and woke up with the “sweetest” hangover, second to what Sangria can deliver.

But most Rosé is dry. I’m no sommelier, but when I order Rosé in a nice restaurant, the wait person always nods at me with a knowing respect. The problem emerges when my table mate raises her/his eyebrow as if to say, “I’ve just lost all respect for you.” When really, it’s kinda the other way around. And I take the bait and I actually go into a dissertation that sort of rivals sorority hazing.

It’s ridiculous, and I know it. I actually go so far as to garner justification by aligning myself with these three cooking and eating and writing giants: Alice Waters, Russell Chatham, and Jim Harrison who claim to love the same wine I have at the top of my list: Domaine Tempier Rosé. .

“You should read about how Alice actually based Chez Panisse on an experience of sitting with Domaine Tempier’s Lucien at his vineyard, slathering a piece of rye with fresh sea urchin, and sipping their Rosé. It actually makes me weep.”

Usually I get a chirp chirp. Not budging.

“Come on– try it. It’s heaven.”

And if they’re kind enough, they will. They hold the glass to their nose, cringe, and drop their tongue in its pale pink waters like they’re considering a swim in a snake-infested river. “Too sweet,” they say.

“Too sweet? It’s as dry as can be! You’re a wine-ist, is what you are.” And I grab back my glass.

It’s how the Italians treat you when you order Parmigiano with a fish pasta dish. Non va! It doesn’t go. One waiter in Venice actually told a friend of mine that he’d get fired if he served her cheese with fish. With significant fear in his eyes.

In my recent experience of travelling the country for book promo and dining in many major cities across the US, Rosé is one of the hottest wines out there. In certain circles. But old judgments (and hangovers) die hard, and often enough, I get scoffed at by my dining partner.

So…to that end…this is what Wikipedia has to say about it: I rest my case.

How it’s made: Red-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically two or three days.[1] The grapes are then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The skins contain much of the strongly flavored tannin and other compounds, thereby leaving the taste more similar to a white wine.[2] The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine.

How it got a bad rap:

White Zin: In the early 1970s, demand for white wine exceeded the availability of white wine grapes, so many California producers made “white” wine from red grapes, in a form of saignée production with minimal skin contact, the “whiter” the better.[6] In 1975 Sutter Home’s “White Zinfandel” wine experienced a stuck fermentation, a problem in which the yeast dies off before all the sugar is turned to alcohol.[7] Winemaker Bob Trinchero put it aside for two weeks, then upon tasting it he decided to sell this pinker, sweeter wine.[8]

Blush: In 1976, wine writer Jerry D. Mead visited Mill Creek Vineyards in Sonoma County, California.[6] Charlie Kreck had been one of the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon vines in California, and offered Mead a wine made from Cabernet that was a pale pink and as yet unnamed.[6] Kreck would not call it “White Cabernet” as it was much darker in colour than red grape “white” wines of the time, yet it was not as dark as the rosés he had known.[6] Mead jokingly suggested the name “Cabernet Blush”, then that evening phoned Kreck to say that he no longer thought the name a joke.[9] In 1978 Kreck trademarked the word “Blush”.[10] The name caught on as a marketing name for the semi-sweet wines from producers such as Sutter Home and Beringer, although Mill Creek no longer produces any rosé wine.[11]

The term “blush” is generally restricted to wines sold in North America, although it is sometimes used in Australia and by Italian Primitivo wines hoping to cash in on the recently discovered genetic links between Primitivo and Zinfandel. Although “blush” originally referred to a colour (pale pink), it now tends to indicate a relatively sweet pink wine, typically with 2.5% residual sugar;[12] in North America dry pink wines are usually marketed as rosé but sometimes as blush. In Europe almost all pink wines are referred to as rosé regardless of sugar levels, even semi-sweet ones from California.

19 Comments

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19 Responses to Blush My A**

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Blush My A** | THESE HERE HILLS -- Topsy.com

  2. Amy

    Greetings! I am reading your book and stopped by to check out your blog, stumbling upon this. Yes! I am a fellow rose’ fanatic. Have you had rose’ champagne, or sparkling rose’, to be oenologically correct? I probably wouldn’t be quite so passionate about it were it easier to find out here. I’m in your neighboring state of SDak (Rapid), where blush (blecch) abounds. There are no good bread bakeries here, and darn little rose’ (especially affordable rose’). Have you ever tried rose’ with St. Andre cheese?
    If you ever come here for a reading, we’ll have to share a bottle. There’s really no decent indie bookstore, however, so that probably won’t happen. (Although Prairie Edge might host a reception for one with a western theme, e.g., the initialed nails one).

    Enough, time for my real question. Now that you’re “known,” when might we expect some of those 14 novels to become available?? Perhaps you should start a sign-up sheet where we, your fans, can attest that we want the novels! Please, see what you can do about this.

    All the best,

  3. I know exactly what you mean! A couple of years ago I went into a small-ish liquor store, told them I was looking for rose’s she took to me to white zinfandel! I didn’t know people still drank white zin.
    I love rose’s, it’s my favorite wine in the summer – the coldness of white but with body like a red. I must admit I stick with reds in the winter (red zin usually), but as soon as it warms up a bit I love the rose’s. I haven’t tried the one you mention as your fave but have made a note so I can. Rose’s are definitely misunderstood. I know what you mean about the approving look. Different liquor store from the one above got the serious nod of approval when I asked for recommendations on rose’s. I have found a couple of spanish that I really like and I love to find great inexpensive wines.

  4. Kathy

    Laura, I so love your thought patterns! Yes, I see that wine partners so very well with so many things, and it is not just cheese!. There is always wine with a celebration, wine with a sunset, or and evening at the beach, wine on a night out on the town, or just a quiet evening at home, wine along with a hot, relaxing bath, and it goes with out saying….a glass of wine along with a good book! (a glass of wine enables the words to soak in to the soul so much deeper and they are so richly received.)

    Truth be told our pallets develop differently and at different paces. Years ago I only drank white. Now it is red (in between I did mix a little blush in there). So my totally unsolicited advise is…….you appear to be a person who has always marched to the beat of their own drum, continue to do so, why worry about who notices what you prefer to drink. Do what you enjoy and are comfortable doing!! (Gotta laugh. It is so much easier giving advice than following it!)

    Thanks so much for the information….this is, as I raise my glass of merlot in you honor! Namaste!

    • lauramunson

      Kathy, after the movie Sideways, I’m glad there are still merlot drinkers out there! I was worried about that whole varietal! Thanks for the advice. It was sort of written tongue in cheek, but still…we don’t write it if we don’t somehow feel it. I feel like when I write about my insecurities– wee or vast, they have a tendancy to disappear a bit. Does that happen for you? yrs. Laura

      • Kathy

        Laura, I didn’t see the movie Sideways, and it is probably a good thing that I didn’t! I’m crossing that movie off of my must see list. I wouldn’t want it to interfere with my merlot. Funny you should mention that about writing. Over this past year I have taken to writing many of my experiences and feelings in a journal. It is a great way to work on, acknowledge and release them. Thanks for the validation.

  5. Liz

    ohhhh, yes! Read this and ran out to buy a couple of bottles of my favorite Rose’. Come to Baltimore in your travels and share a bottle with me. Cheers, Laura!

    • lauramunson

      Liz, I may just be in Baltimore this fall. I’m thinking of doing a DC to Atlanta tour once the paper back comes out and after its inital launch which has me in the Midwest, NE, and West coast. I’ve never been to Baltimore. I might just take you up on that rose`! Stay in touch! yrs. Laura

  6. Here, here! And I agree with Kathy…love your thought patterns.i am enjoying your blog and find I often share it/e-mail it to others. It strikes a chord…a good chord.

    • lauramunson

      Betsy, thanks for being at THESE HERE HILLS and for sharing my posts with people. I find the internet to be such a warm community when kindred spirits unite. A good chord, indeed. yrs. Laura

  7. Sue

    My husband and I have a particular rosé from Bordeaux that we love. We refer to it as the Beauxsé. Gives it a little street cred.

    • lauramunson

      Hi, Sue. Beauxse` Love it. Why does my computer keyboard not have an accent in the rright direction? Your keyboard seems to be more bilingual than mine (or I’m just a techno peasant, as usual.) What the name of your Beauxze`? I’d like to try it! yrs. Laura

  8. Terri

    I don’t drink. But like Amy, I also would love to hear about your novels!

    • lauramunson

      Thanks, Terri. I am hoping to have some of them published. I’m working on a new one and have a good feeling about it. It’s nice to be back in the fiction saddle again. Being the main character in a book is both freeing and a bit terrifying. I’m glad my book is helping people. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. Thanks for being at THESE HERE HILLS. yrs. Laura

  9. Heather

    I also love your blog! Found out about it on Christiane Northrup’s Facebook page not too long ago. I repost your blogs sometimes on my facebook profile! I LOVED your “Ode to the Crampoon” last week! Too funny, spot on and apropos as I live in Jackson, WY and can completely relate! Though I don’t have a driveway with any pitch – thankfully!!! :-)

  10. Heather

    Didn’t mean “crampoon” – I used to like my wine and have chosen not to drink anymore – seems I’ve also lost my ability to spell!

    • lauramunson

      That’s okay, I spelled the word village wrong for 44 years. Plus, in high school, we used to call tampons, tampoons, so it’s perfect! Thanks for being at THESE HERE HILLS, Heather. I have a newsletter too (A bit tardy this month!). The sign up is on the top right margin, if you’re interested in getting it to your email. I usually take a theme and ask an inspiring person to join me in writing something. Then we all show up here and share about it. I’d love to have you. Christiane has been so amazing in her support of my book. I’m actually going to be on her radio show on April 6th at 11:00 EST. Can’t wait. yrs. Laura
      Say hi to the Cowboy Bar but more important…to the Trumpeter Swans down there in Jackson.

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