Friday, April 5, 2013

I Fight Sweet

I know you can't read the writing in this photo, but the glow is so nice! Scroll down for legibility.

I'm in a fight here -- a fight against sweetness. In the United States of America, the color pink is associated with qualities including softness, femininity, and artificial berry flavor. And I get it; flower petals are pink sometimes. And although I'm sort of skeeved out every time I see small girls wearing all pink, I get that too. It is a super pretty color for your t-shirt/pants/tutu/sparkle-tennies ensemble. Likewise, I love strawberry soda -- I live in this country and I grew up drinking strawberry soda, a fact that holds enormous meaning for good reasons as well as dumb ones. Back to wine:

Provence* rosés generally taste like steel, raw beef, and rocks. I'm avoiding "wine words" because I don't know very much about them, or else I don't like them. So: Metal, meat, and stone -- these are all heavy, hard things, the opposite of the pink I've just described. (Get Freudian if you want to; I don't want to.)

Great! Not sweet! But you're saying no, shaking your head, pretending to gag. You say those are disgusting flavors for summer wine. And they would be, if it weren't for the priceless alchemical genius of the vinting process, which takes all that clunk and turns it -- light. Rosé is light in color, light in "weight," and light in flavor, as opposed to a syrupy chardonnay, for example. The reason I love rosé so much is that I believe it to be supernatural, chaotic-good, because it lightens something heavy.

The result is unobvious. If the winemaking process lightened something already light -- something simple or sweet -- then it would just be silly like strawberry soda. (Unless it were idiotic, like white zinfandel.) But because something happens between yard and bottle that transforms those bossy, lumbering flavors into a floating wisp of a thing, the wine becomes both honest and interesting.

I was extremely fortunate and got to eat dinner this week at the Liberty Café in Bernal Heights, San Francisco, California. I had a glass of Henri Bourgeois rosé of Pinot Noir that inspired me to write on the tablecloth. (Paper, it was paper, I'm not awful.) But I couldn't work out what I wanted to say so I made a ... chart? Outline? Anyway they let me keep the tablepaper, which you see in situ above and legible below.

*This should say "Provence-style," because of course I'm talking about United Statesian as well as French bottles here. And I specify them, because the other ones, the rosés of syrah, the Italian and Italian-inspired rosés, and the Spanish and Spanish-inspired ones, those delicacies are for a future time.


  1. file under: cold blue steel and sweet fire
    you make good points about steel,pink, light, sweet & rocks. puts me in the mind that people are like wine, in terms of temperament and such. you know, some are acidic and enjoyable, but can only be taken in small doses, while others are well balanced and very adaptable to almost any social situation. then there are the ones who have opinions, and a nice backbone, but they never become tiresome, as opposed to the sweet ones, whom you like, but only after dinner.

  2. Oh, great. It's early afternoon and now I want to run out and have a heavy/light glass of Rose´ (I can't figure out how to get the little mark above the e, but you know what I mean).

    This review is delicious.