When June hits, it's time to bring out the rosé. So without further ado, we’re taking this opportunity to pay homage to our favorite summer sipper. Cheeky, celebratory, and somewhat elusive, this iconic wine is definitely a conversation starter. Sit down, pour yourself some pink, and let us tell you a thing or two about our dear friend, rosé.
What is rosé wine?
If you’re wondering about rosé wine, you’re probably not alone. We’ve all held up a bottle to the light, titled our head, and pondered (perhaps even aloud), “why is rosé pink?” Perhaps the question was more existential, “what even is rosé?”
It can be difficult to define, simply because there are so many variations out there. Our beloved pink wine comes in a wide range of styles, quality levels, and color variations.
You'll find that some are a deep hue, while others are more delicate. Some are made from solely black grape varieties, while others come from a blend of grapes. Certain kinds are dry, while others are tart or fruity. Some even have a bit of bubble to them.
It's also important to consider the origin. This style of wine is made all over the world, from Provence, France, to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Slovenia, and Greece.
How is rosé made?
Let’s talk about the wine’s iconic pink color. There are different ways to produce pink wine, all resulting in varying degrees of pigmentation, differing flavor profiles, and unique tasting experiences. Remember - all wines get their color and most of their flavor from grape skins. Yes, red wine is only ‘red’ because it has spent time soaking in skins!
As a hard and fast rule, the more time the grapes spend interacting with skins, the deeper the flavor profile and color of the rosé.
Direct pressing is a winemaking technique that produces delicate rosé wine with a pale color and light body. This process involves extracting the juice and removing the skins quickly by pressing the black grapes. The juice is then fermented, just like a white wine. The less interaction with the grape skins, the better, for this pale pink rendition of rosé.
The second technique is short maceration. In this process, the grapes are crushed and then spend a short period of time (called maceration time) sitting in the skins before they are pressed. Think of this as the pressing technique, plus a little more exposure to the grapes’ pigmented skins. As you may have guessed, these rosés usually have a bit more flavor and color, but it depends on the maceration time.
Lastly, blending is a popular technique for producing rosé. If someone would’ve told you it’s possible to blend white wine and red wine and get rosé, would you think they're pulling your leg? We promise we’re not punking you. Blending is another very real technique in which red wine and white wine are combined. You’ll see this technique with New World “blush” wines. Hint: use the word "'blush'" as a context clue. If you see it on the label, the wine in your hand was probably made by blending.
What is sparkling rose?
Sparkling rosé can also range in styles from incredibly dry and tart to rich, fruity and sweet. For example, Brut Rosé Champagne is extremely dry while certain Italian sparkling rosés or the slightly fizzy Mateaus rosé from Portugal are on the sweeter side.
Did you know you can make Cava and Prosecco rosé? Winemakers make Cava rosé using primarily Garnacha, Monastrell and Pinot Noir, while Prosecco rosé is made by blending Pinot Noir and Glera.
At this point in time, Champagne is the only French wine region permitted to blend white wine and red wine to create rosé. This is in large part due to its iconic reputation and legendary blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay grapes.
What does it pair well with?
Rosé’s rich coloring may have you wondering what food group could possibly complement such a unique wine, but the truth is, pink jives with a lot of things. The wide variety of flavor profiles and styles open up a world of pairing possibilities!
What goes with rosé? Follow your intuition - pair the pale, delicate style with something light like a salad or fresh seafood. The deeper the color, the heartier and richer the food pairing. Pair a full-bodied style with roasted veggies, chicken, or a more substantial fish dish.
In Vino Finito
Did you learn something new about rosé? Which style do you tend to lean toward? Let us know in the comments!