Rosé Wine: What To Know

Rosé has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, thanks to its trendy millennial pink hue and recent rebranding as a day drinking staple. Despite the fact that this pink wine has become the go-to summertime drink for social media influencers, it is one of the oldest types of wines ever made.

What Is Rosé?

Rosé is a type of wine made from red wine grapes that is made in the same way as red wine but with less time fermenting with grape skins. Because of the reduced skin contact, rosé has a pink hue and a lighter flavour than red wine. Rosé is made all over the world because it can be made from any red wine grape grown in any wine-growing region.

Rosé wine is typically a blended wine made from a variety of wine grapes. Rosé can also be a single varietal wine made from a single grape variety. For example, California is well-known for its rosé wines made entirely of pinot noir grapes.

Which Grapes Make Rose?

Grenache grapes make up the majority of the blend in blended rosé wine. Other grapes found in rosé blends include:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Syrah
  • Cinsault
  • Mourvèdre
  • Tibouren
  • Carignan

How Is Rosé Wine Produced?

Rosé gets its distinctive pink colour from maceration (soaking), the most common method of producing pink wine. Red grapes are juiced and macerated with their skins for a day or two until the juice turns a light pink colour. The grape skins are then removed, and the juice ferments further. The longer the rosé is left to macerate with the skins, the darker the wine will become. As a result, the colour of rosé wines can range from pale blush to bright pink. Rosé is distinct from blush wine, which is a blend of red and white wine.

Where Is Rosé Made?

Provence, France, is the epicentre of rosé production, producing the majority of the world’s rosé. Provençal rosé is distinguished by its dry and delicate flavour and light orange-tinted pink colour. Rosé from Provence is typically made from grapes such as Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Syrah. Procençal rosé is regarded as a premium rosé and thus commands a higher price.
Rosé can be made all over the world, from California to Italy to Spain, and is not limited to Provence. Old World rosés are made in France, Spain, and Italy, as well as other European wines, whereas New World rosés are made in California, Australia, Argentina, or anywhere else outside of Europe.

What Does Rosé Taste Like?

Rosé has a flavour profile similar to that of a light red wine, but with brighter and crisper tasting notes.

Rosé wine flavour descriptors commonly used include:

  • Melon
  • Citrus
  • Flowers
  • Red Fruits (Cherry, strawberry, raspberry)

What’s the Difference Between Sweet Rosé and Dry Rosé?

Rosé wines can be sweet or dry, but they tend to be on the dry side. Rosé from the Old World is typically bone dry. Because of differences in climate and production methods, rosé produced in the New World is often sweeter and has a more pronounced fruit flavour. There are exceptions, of course, in which some New World winemakers mimic the style and methods of Old World producers.

  • Sweet rosé come from New World producers. Sweet rosé pairs well with savory foods. The most common sweet rosé wines are:
    • White Zinfandel
    • White Merlot
    • Pink Moscato
  • Dry rosé wines have a low sugar content but are high in tannins, the element that contributes to the dryness, astringency, and bitterness of a wine. Dry rosé wines are usually comprised of the following grape varietals:
    • Grenache
    • Sangiovese
    • Syrah
    • Mourvèdre
    • Carignan
    • Cinsault
    • Pinot Noir

What Is the Right Temperature to Serve Rosé Wine?

Rosé should always be served chilled and at 10°C to 15°C. After purchasing rosé, place it in the refrigerator for at least several hours before serving (30 minutes in the freezer will work in a pinch). Most sommeliers advise against adding ice cubes to any wine because they dilute and change the flavour of the wine as they melt.

Does Rosé Age Well?

Aging a wine means storing it in a bottle for several years to allow it to improve over time. It is not necessary to age rosé wine because rosé is made specifically for its fresh and fruity flavour. Rosé from the Bandol region of Provence, which uses the Mourvèdre grape and is known for its ageability, is a notable exception. Mourvèdre-based rosé wines are of high quality and can be aged for up to ten years.

The Best Food Pairings for Rosé

Rosé is well-known for being exceptionally food-friendly, as it goes well with almost anything. Rosé’s fruit flavours make it especially suitable for pairing with spicy foods. Rosé’s lightness complements sushi and salads. Rosé is popular for al fresco dining, such as picnics and barbecues, because it is served cold.

Sweet rosé pairs well with:

  • Barbecue meats
  • Roasts
  • Rich sauces

Dry rosé pairs well with:

  • Grilled chicken or fish
  • Vegetables
  • Salads

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