As the long, hot, blistering summer days approach, there is simply nothing better than a delectable glass of rosé wine. There is something so satisfying about this pink drink. Simply put, rosé is lively, fun, and delicious. It’s the perfect middle ground for someone who’s torn between the body of a red and the crispness of a white. Before you reach for your next glass though, it might not hurt to know where it comes from, how it’s made, and what the deal is with that unique pink coloring.
Historically, rosé was known as the poor man’s wine, due to people associating it with sweet White Zinfandel or pink Moscato. These days, however, producers are coming out with beautiful and affordable styles that are complex, elegant and deserve praise. We’ve come a long way since the White Zinfandel, often referred to as “blush wine,” days. Now we see a wide variety of rose’s in grocery stores and wine shops. The most popular styles hailing from the South of France in places such as Provence, Tavel, and the Rhone, these wines are bone dry and practically beg for food. From light pink French styles of Bandol rosé to fuller bodied Malbec rosé wine’s, there’s a style to cater to every pallet and occasion.
There is no such thing as a singular rosé grape, rosé is made from just about any kind of red wine varietal you can think of. Grenache, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Cabernet, Sangiovese; you name it there’s probably rosé made from it. A common misconception is that rosé is a mix of finished red and white wine. [You could go home and try mixing red and white wine, but you will be left disappointed and searching for mouthwash.] There is only one exception to this theory, and that is found in the Champagne region of France. Champagne is the only place in Europe that allows blending of red and white wine for rosé sparkling wine production, it is illegal everywhere else in the EU. In Champagne, blending of white Chardonnay and red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are mixed to make world class sparkling rosé. These sparkling rose wines tend to be richer and fuller bodied than their golden counterparts.
An alternate means for making rose is theSaignée (san-yay) method. Saignée translates to bleeding in French. This method happens during the first couple hours of red wine production. A small amount of the red wine juice is taken away to a new vat to be “bled off.” This is the method where the skins contact “bleeds” into the free flowing juice. This “bleeding” method allows just the right amount of time to color the wine and is often done within the first couple hours of making the wine. This bleeding process helps to concentrate the wine, giving lush, hearty flavor.
The most common form of rosé production is known as the maceration method. In this method, red grapes are crushed and the juice is left in contact with the skin for a minimal amount of time. Just enough time to color the wine pink. The longer the juice remains in contact with the skins, the deeper red the color of the wine will be. This coloring is often left to the winemaker’s discretion.
Rosé comes in a variety of styles and color ranges and may be presented in the still or sparkling form. These wines range from light to full body with vibrant colors ranging from pale pink to deep salmon to orange that can be found in every corner of the world. Rose is meant for youthful consumption and should be served ice cold in a white wine glass. Rosé is soft, intriguingly perfumed, and dry enough to be the perfect complement for light to medium fare. Some common flavor profiles are strawberry, melon, rose petal, raspberry, and citrus zest it. It is a sommelier and wine aficionado’s dream when it comes to pairing with food. It is traditionally paired best with any warm climate cuisine such as olives, fresh tomato, basil, but can also stand up to heavier fare such as grilled pork or chicken. Some great pairings are charcuterie, Mediterranean cuisine, salads, oysters, crab, and fish. It is also the ideal wine to bring to brunch. Rosé and eggs for the win!
Whether it’s still, sparkling, or slightly effervescent, rosé is an instant crowd pleaser and your new go to wine to bring to any social gathering. Rosé is the beverage that you can sit on the patio and drink all day long. Rosé is the best of both worlds, now go find a patio and a glass of Provencal Rosé and start sipping. Simply because life is better when viewed through rosé colored glasses.
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