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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
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Jul 18, 2022

Elizabeth (Liz) Gabay, Master of Wine, is the world's foremost expert on rosé and a big part of her career has been studying, writing about, and understanding rosé. Ben Bernheim, her son, is now learning from her wisdom and and is a specialist in his own right. The two of them have just completed the excellent book “Rosés of Southern France” (which is now available on Amazon for purchase.

Liz is largely responsible for shifting the tide on rosé and helping people to understand that this wine is its own serious category that deserves thought, study, and consideration. In addition to the new book, Liz is the author of “Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution,” and she is also a contributor on rosé in Decanter, The Drinks Business, The Buyer, SevenFiftyDaily, Meiningers, and many more prestigious publications.

Photo: https://www.elizabethgabay.com/about/  

The wisdom these Liz and Ben have on the subject of rosé is vast, and they are so fun, engaging, and real, that they make it all so interesting and accessible. This is an incredible education on rosé and will enjoy every minute of listening to these fantastic humans.

Photo: Ben Bernheim, taken by me when we were partners in a Beaumes de Venise mini-class in the Rhone Valley 4/22

Here are the things we discuss in the show:

  • Liz talks about her background and how she got into wine. She discusses how, when she took the MW, it was a professional certification, and how it has changed dramatically over time. She discusses how she got into rosé, and how Ben got involved in it as well.

Then we get into the nuts and bolts of rosé

  • Liz and Ben define rosé (harder than you think!). We discuss he book’s intro and what rosé is really about:

“We love rosé. We love its diversity, its complexity, and the infinite combinations of terroir, grape variety, vintage variation and winemaking that we find around the world. Many people think we’re crazy. They see rosé as a pale pink lightly alcoholic swimming pool tipple that somehow tastes better if you’re wearing a bikini. That isn’t what this book is about. “

Photo credit: Canva

  • Liz and Ben tell us about rosé winegrowing:
    • Grapes that are commonly used(red AND white!)
    • The role of terroir in rosé
    • The picking decisions and harvest parameters that matter in making rosé
    • Climate change and how it is affecting grapes for rosé


  • We talk next about rosé winemaking
    • We discuss the various ways to make rosé – direct press, limited maceration and saignée
    • We talk about some of the key factors in rosé winemaking:
      • Time on the skin
      • Yeast strains
      • Co-fermenting with whites
      • Fermentation vessel (oak v. stainless)
      • Temperature control in fermentation
      • Malolactic fermentation vs. no MLF
      • Aging/storage vessel and time – oak, cement, glass, amphora, etc

Photo credit: Canva 

  • Liz and Ben tell us why rosé, can be ageworthy and why most isn’t. We also talk about lightstrike and why clear bottles are the worst thing for rosé.

 

  • We cover the wines of the southern Rhône -- Tavel, Luberon, Ventoux, the rosés of Provence and Bandol and the wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon. We have an interesting conversation about Costieres di Nimes, which really drives home how certain regions can be outstanding but if they don’t send in samples to writers, or market their wines, they remain unknown.

 

  • Liz and Ben help us understand how to buy better rosé.
    • They provide some shortcuts for finding better wines – like looking for sub regions in Cotes de Provence such as Ste. Victoire and La Londe.
    • We talk about how using Google maps to see where the winery is located can help you get better wines (e.g., If it’s in a cool mountain area, it may be crisp, if it’s nearer the ocean the wine may be fatter).
    • They discuss how essential it is to find out about the producer, since often producers want you to see the name “Provence” and buy the bottle…if you poke around a bit you may get a better idea about what you are getting so it’s not a surprise or disappointment

 

  • Liz and Ben tell us about the trends in rosé – why it has become so popular, and what are great regions we should keep an eye on. Liz’s recommendations for countries/regions that have been making intresteing rosé (besides France!): Austria, Greece, Sicily (Etna especially), Spain (Clarete from Sigales, Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Navarra), Portugal (Douro, pink Port), Israel.

 

We end with a conversation on the future of rosé and what Ben and Liz hope for the category.

 

This is a fantastic conversation about a category of wine that is experiencing a big paradigm shift. Liz and Ben are some of the most normal, kindest, smartest people I’ve met in wine in a long, long while and the show is sprinkled with a ton of industry information – insider things that can help shed light on what goes on with producers, negociants, and writers.  I hope you enjoy and you are motivated to buy their wonderful book! Reach out to them at https://www.elizabethgabay.com/about/  

Photo credit: Canva

 

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To register for an AWESOME, LIVE WFNP class with Elizabeth go to: www.winefornormalpeople.com/classes