Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Eye of the Partridge

Oeil de Perdrix ("Eye of the Partridge") refers to the pale rose color of partridge eyes and oddly enough, pink foot corns (in French).

The term also refers to a delicate blush wine which originated in the Champagne region of France, as Middle Age vintners struggled to create white wine from red grapes, to better compete with Burgundian wines which were popular with the French royal court. (Benedictine Monk Dom Perignon would later perfect a white wine from red grapes, creating a sparkling wine which would become known simply as, "Champagne.")

The first California Oeil de Perdrix-style wine was developed accidentally from Zinfandel grapes in a 1975 "stuck" fermentation at Sutter Home Winery. Since Sutter Home winemaker Bob Trinchero was not allowed to call his accidental blush wine, simply, Oeil de Perdrix by the ATF, he called his wine, "White Zinfandel," which became a tremendous commercial success.

Because of the versatile quality of today's dryer, contemporary Oeil de Perdrix-style California blush wines and their lower alcohol content, they seem to be enjoying a resurgence in Silicon Valley and around the state. Learn more about these unique wines at: (I disagree with the author, however.

Many contemporary Oeil de Perdrix-style wines are well balanced and dry, with a fruity nose.) Ask to taste a balanced Oeil de Perdrix-style wine at your local wine bar or seek out the professional sommelier at your local Whole Foods' wine department for recommended blush wines.

According to Wine Spectator, the process used to produce blush wines is called ""bleeding-off" or Saignee'":
"Saignée: A French term meaning literally "to bleed," saignée refers to the process of bleeding or pulling juice from a tank of red must that is just beginning fermentation. The goal is two-fold. First, the lightly-colored juice that is bled out of the tank produces a rosé."
In June 2017 The San Jose Mercury News published Mary Orlin's article, "20 Great Rose' Wines To Try For Summer". Orlin "is a James Beard Award and Emmy award-winning journalist, Certified Sommelier and WSET Advanced certified wine professional". Her article mentions blush wines made by several local wineries and vineyards, including:

---Catherine Alexander Bright,