by Fred McMillin
for February 11, 1999


A Cloud-Nine Valentine


1937 Valentine verse...
"Your afraid of your shadow,
And scared of a mouse.
Wouldn't you feel safer
With a man in the house?"

The Rest of the Story

Beringer Winery  
With next Sunday being Valentine's Day, we suggest that man in the house come equipped with a charming rosé (roh-zay). The best one my panel has tasted in recent months was made by the Saignée method (French for "bleeding"). Here's how wine whiz Hugh Johnson describes the technique. "Red grapes, crushed or merely broken, are chilled and stand for 12 to 48 hours. The juice is then drained off without pressing and cold-fermented in the same fashion as a white wine...[Particularly noteworthy] are the rare French rosés made from the Pinot Noir."

And that's how Beringer Winemaker Ed Sbragia made his first rosé...Pinot Noir grapes were lightly crushed and then "the pink-hued, richly-flavored Saignée juice was drained off, with its pure fruit aromas and flavors intact."

This Week's Winery

1997 Rosé de Saignée, California
Beringer Winery, St. Helena, Napa Valley
Rating—HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for pink wine devotees.
The Grapes—Ed used some Syrah as well, to add some "cinnamon-spice" flavors.
Food Affinities—Piece of cake...the pink wine fans I know drink it with any cuisine...My choice would be a nice garlicy pesto pasta.
Gontact—Allison Simpson, (707) 963-7115
Price—$16 range.


About the origin of Valentine's Day, there were at least two saints with that name in Roman times, who met untimely, unromantic ends. Hence, my favorite theory is that the romantic Valentine custom rose from the old English belief that birds chose their mates each year on February 14th.

Note: For more about light Beringer reds, see the Nov. 2, 1998 WineDay titled "A Nouveau Month."

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


WineDay Annex

More articles by
Fred McMillin


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