California vintner Fred Franzia and renowned Bordeaux-based enologist Michel Rolland have announced a new joint venture, a rosé that will retail for just $1 per bottle, using a new grape variety called Caberose.
The all-star winemaking duo announced their new project following the recent news that the European Union is planning to change the legal definition of rosé as part of an effort to loosen the continent's strict winemaking rules.
It seems a rush is now on to capitalize on the recent boom in rosé consumption.
Previously, rosé has been made by the traditional method of crushing red grapes and then letting the juice extract a bit of color and flavor from the skins before draining it off for fermentation.
But some winemakers are now looking to exploit the new, looser definition of rosé, which would allow for the blending of red and white grapes together to make a rosé-colored wine. Franzia and Rolland have taken it a step further with plans to employ a new grapevine that produces both red and white grapes.
The new vine was developed by researchers at UC Davis, though Caberose, as the new variety is called, was produced apparently by mistake as viticulturists were attempting to a make cross of Pinotage and Seyval Blanc.
“We were aiming for a new variety that would ripen perfectly at the hottest time of the year, while still retaining acidity,” explained Dr. Charles Shaw, a professor of plant pathology at UC Davis. “The idea was to blend both warm-climate, jammy fruit and cool-climate acidity into one wine.” But the first generation of vines from the new crossing resulted not in a single new grape variety, but in a vine where both red and white grapes formed in opposing bunches at the same time. The new grapes were neither Pinotage nor Seyval Blanc, but instead entirely new grape varieties.
Shaw explained that when he tried a micro-vinification of the white and red grapes separately, he found the results less than impressive. On a lark, he then co-fermented the two grapes together, which resulted in a rosé-colored wine that he thought had commercial potential. Shaw then brought his findings to Franzia, who immediately purchased the trademark and began to propagate the vine for commercial use.
|The gentically engineered new Caberose vines yield both red and white grape bunches.|