Sunday, September 4, 2011

BELLINI ROSA


While picking up a few things at the grocery the other day, quite out of character and palette, I found myself admiring a bottle of rosé ! I absolutely love prosecco and other dry sparkling wines; but for some reason felt overwhelmingly compelled to bring home a bottle of quintessentially feminine rosé …I think the fact that I had decided to watch Sex and the City all night must have had something to do with it.

A little side note about rosé , it is a misconception that rosé and “blush” are the same thing. A blush wine is the mixing of a small amount of red wine into a larger amount of white. Leaving the white wine still primarily white, just with a “blush” of color. True rosé is produced by allowing the crushed black skins of the grape to remain in contact with the juice only about three days. This leaves the majority of the tannins, which are found in the skin, out of the final product. Leaving the wine much more similar to a white than to a red. The longer the skins sit in the juice, the deeper the color and more bodied the flavor. Another misconception is that there is ANY similarity between white zinfandel and rosé ! Other than both being pink (no offense to you white-zin fanatics, some of my favorite people love that stuff!).

So, with two or three bottles of rosé in inventory (what? I have the entire series on DVD) and several pounds of peaches I decided to put a spin on one of my very favorite cocktails: the Bellini. Because it is Italian history I simply cannot post this without sharing a brief history of the classic Bellini: The Bellini was conceived sometime in the late 1930s by Giuseppe Cipriani at his restaurant Harry’s Bar in Venice. Made with prosecco and peach purée, its pink color reminded him of a toga in a painting of a saint by Giovanni Bellini. What could be more Italian--combining art, saints, and wine??!

I thought it might be fun to amp up the pink in a classic Bellini and use rosé instead of prosecco. I happened to have a huge bundle of lemon verbena a friend had given me so I added a little bit of that as well. While optional the lemon verbena really plays on the zest of the rosé and cuts through the sweetness of the peach. A slight bitter note that brings the cocktail a more earthly flavor. Served with blackberry-peach and courvoisier pie it is the perfect way to bid arrivederci to summer!

INGREDIENTS
makes 4 Bellinis
2 peaches, peeled and cored
1 bottle of rosé , I used Martini and Rossi
2 leaves lemon verbena (optional)

1. purée the peaches with the lemon verbena leaves. Either in a blender or food processor.

2. divide the purée among four champagne flutes

3. pour rosé to top, garnish with two lemon verbena leaves, and enjoy!

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