Why I Decided to Produce Two Rosé Wines

The First Bottle of Bouké Rosé

The First Bottle of Bouké Rosé

I love rosé so much that I decided to produce not one but two. They are perfect Long Island wines. The context is right – most people come to the East End of Long Island from Memorial Day to Labor Day to relax on the beach and party. The intensity is right for summer at the beach – so easy wine to drink. And the taste is right – they go well with local food — fresh salads, seafood and barbecued chicken.

Before signing off on the Bouké Rosé blend, my winemaker, French-born Gilles Martin and I tasted a many wines together, discussed them and took notes. We tried rosés from different wine regions and at different price points. We tried them with different foods, discussed, and took notes. We narrowed down what we liked and what we could do well. Ultimately, we decided on a blend of high quality grapes that grow reliably on Long Island – Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The final product was dry, as in Provence, the reference point for rosé wines. Our 2007 rosé was very well-received, won awards, included in a few wine clubs, used in the WSET classes, and sold out.

But not everybody loved it. For those accustomed to drinking white Zinfandel, the wine lacked a certain touch of sweetness that they craved in a rosé. So, I decided to produce an off-dry rosé in my Bouquet line, which included sweet dessert wines (vins doux naturels). Back to the drawing board. Gilles and I tasted a lot of off-dry rosés, tried them with different foods, discussed them, took notes. We decided on a paler colored, lighter-bodied wine using a blend of red and white grapes. The new blend has Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Gewurztaminer. We also experimented with different levels of sweetness. The final wine has 20 g/L of sugar, or 2%. While this tastes odd to a Frenchman, it strikes a chord with many American palates. One restauranteur, who lit up when she tasted the new wine, asked me to trade the new off-dry rosé for the dry rosé she had previously purchased. An important wine store in Manhattan, who knows his customer base very well, placed a huge order.

We put a lot of thought and a lot of love into our rosés, and hope you like them. For your next summer event, consider rosé. It’s a crowd pleaser and very affordable. They are pretty wines, but real men like pink, too. After all, the winner of today’s Giro d’Italia is wearing a maglia rosa.

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