Drew Barrymore makes wine, which is a surprise to nobody since apparently winemaking is the hot new celeb trend. Recently, Vogue released a video interview with the star in which she proclaims herself to be a winemaker (a loose term, it seems — Barrymore works with Carmel Road winemaker Kris Kato to produce Barrymore Wines, stating in a June Huffington Post interview, “I don’t think you want me anywhere near the nature process. I like kill every plant I touch”), gives her tips on tasting wine (“As a winemaker, now people tend to look to me to taste for the table,” Barrymore notes), and educates the general public on some other wine and specifically rosé-related topics.
But after watching the two-minute video, there seem to be some, erm, inaccuracies in Barrymore’s information. Is rosé made from peeled grapes? Does sugar cause hangovers? We pinpointed all of the misinformation in Barrymore’s rosé video and cleared them up for you. And Drew, if you’re reading, we’re totally available to be consulting winemakers for the next vintage of Barrymore Wines. We loved you in Charlie’s Angels.
“Rosé is when you peel the skin off the grapes earlier…”
Not quite. The color of rosé does have something to do with the skins of the grape, but they are definitely never peeled off, which is probably a good thing, since between 600 and 800 grapes are used to make a bottle of wine. There are several different way to make rosé, but what Barrymore is probably referring to is a limited skin maceration or direct pressing technique, in which the skins of red grapes are pressed off the juice earlier than they would be for a red wine. Since color is found in grape skins, this results in a lighter, rosé color of wine.
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“…and it’s a cold fermentation.”
Cold fermentation is an example of wine jargon that gets thrown around a lot as a way to indicate quality winemaking, but what does it actually mean? The entire process is complicated, but what cold fermentation boils down to is that the wine is fermented at a cooler temperature, which slows down the fermentation process. Winemakers assert that this preserves and enhances the aromatics of the wine, making it fresh and fruity. Barrymore is correct in stating that most rosé undergoes cold fermentation, but so do many white, sparkling, and even light red wines, so cold fermentation in no way makes a wine rosé.
“If it’s too dark I know it’s gonna be just not my style.”
This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to rosé! The color of a rosé — or of any wine, for that matter — is not a reliable indicator of flavor. All that a darker rosé indicates is that either the wine has remained in contact with the grape skins for longer, or the rosé is possibly made from a darker-skinned grape. This does not affect residual sugar or acidity at all, and some pale rosés can actually be a lot boozier or sweeter than darker versions. C’mon, Drew — don’t you know that you shouldn’t judge a rosé by its color?
“I think a rosé should have that inherently Pavlovian-to-women peachy-pink quality that just draws us in. Somehow, I don’t know what it is about us girls, but we love pink.”
O.K., so perhaps this isn’t an issue with wine facts, per se, but with wine and gender stereotyping. The idea that women drink light, fresh, pretty wines and men drink big, bold, manly wines is an outdated way of thinking. (Author’s note: Case in point, my father will only drink sweet Riesling and Moscato, leaving me with all of the Bordeaux and Brunello.) After all, how else would you explain brosé?
Holding the wine glass like this.
Don’t hold a wine glass by the bowl! When drinking wine, it’s much better to hold the glass by its stem rather than by the bowl in order to avoid warming up the wine — and avoid smudging up the glass with dirty fingerprints.
“The more you drink wine, the more of a pseudo-oenophile you become. Whereas, if I have a cocktail, I feel like I learn nothing.”
Cocktails are people too, Drew! Try telling the new wave of bartenders and distillers who spend their time creating cocktails and spirits that wine inherently educates more than cocktails do. A new generation of imbibers is learning about classic cocktails and their modern twists, speakeasies and craft cocktail bars are still uber- popular, and experts are even exploring the effect of terroir on spirits. On the other hand, there are plenty of wine drinkers who have no interest in learning more about what’s in their glass, regardless of how much they drink (ahem — White Girl Rosé). The fact of the matter is, it’s not the beverage itself that “makes” you learn — it’s your interest in learning about what you’re drinking in the first place.
“I do like a light, easy-drinking wine. Also wines that feel very clean and actually make your whole body feel good after numerous glasses is a really big telltale sign for me, and the absence of that cloying sugar and sweetness really contributes to that really beautiful, clean ability to enjoy it without feeling heavy. Or hungover.”
There are a lot of words to weed through to actually make sense of this statement in the first place, in which Barrymore is asked about how to avoid hangovers. We’re all for Drew loving her light, clean, easy-drinking wines (so do we!), but here she basically asserts that it’s the sugar in wine that makes the drinker feel both heavy and hungover. Let’s tackle that first notion: Yes, wines with too much residual sugar can feel cloying and sit heavy in the stomach. However, if the wine has enough acidity to balance that sugar, it will remain fresh and lively. For instance, some off-dry Kabinett Rieslings from the Mosel have 30 or 40 grams per liter of residual sugar, but these wines have so much acidity that they are typically described not as heavy, but as delicate. It’s a misconception that sugar creates heaviness.
And as for the idea that sugar makes the drinker feel more hung over, hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol, period. Therefore, drinking a lower-alcohol wine — regardless of the sugar content — is a good way to avoid a hangover. Interestingly enough, since fermentation is the process of converting sugar into alcohol, sweetness in a wine means all of that residual sugar has not been converted into alcohol. Therefore, many sweeter table wines, like the aforementioned Kabinett Mosel Rieslings, are actually lower in alcohol than their dry counterparts.