The minimal skin contact in the initial winemaking process means that rosé wines should ideally drunk when they are young and fresh and showing the pleasing color – anything from pale blush to intense, light red – desired by the winemaker. To get the best from the youth of these wines, rosés should ideally be drunk within a year or two of the previous harvest, although in some cases can last for more.
So it is always a good idea to check the vintage on the bottle to ensure you are buying a wine in tip-top condition. Another way to tell if a rosé wine is still at its best is to hold the bottle or glass up to natural light and look at the color. Any sign of browning means that the wine is in decline and will have lost some, if not all of its, zest*.
Know your grapes: Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc is red grape variety planted historically in parts of Bordeaux and the cooler Loire region, to which it is ideally suited. It is also popular among the wine makers of north-east Italy, California and Argentina. A new grape to Lebanon, it can be found both in the famous Bekaa Valley and in Mount Lebanon. Château Ksara uses Cabernet Franc in its best selling Sunset rosé, Réserve du Couvent red and Cuvée IIIe Millénaire.
The Cabernet Franc is the “parent” of the more famous Cabernet Sauvignon. But where the illustrious “son” is known for its intensity, aggression and power, the Cabernet Franc is an altogether more delicate rape, renowned for its paler hue, lower tannins and the fresh raspberry flavors.
The Loire gives the Cabernet Franc the respect it deserves and as such produces the finest examples of what the grape can achieve. In Bordeaux, in the cooler soils of St Émilion and Pomerol, it thrives and is used to give structure in wines made with the ubiquitous Merlot.