With its delicate pink hues and delicate, refreshing flavor, it’s no surprise that rosé wine has gained popularity over the years. In fact, rosé sales grew 40% in the US in 2018, and its popularity continues to grow each year!
Rosé is a wine type that limits color coming from the skin of grapes during production. It can be made from many different grape varietals and blends.
Rosé can be made all over the world, but Provence, France, is considered the leading rosé region in the world. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Mourvédre are commonly used in Provençal Rosé, and these wines tend to be dry with strawberry, melon, and salt flavors. They usually appear lighter in color and have a delicate flavor profile.
In Tavel, France, an appellation in the Rhone Valley, all wines are legally required to be pink. The most common grape varietals used in this region include Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. Rosé wine production in Tavel usually involves more skin contact compared to Provencal Rosés, resulting in deeper colors and fruitier flavors. Clairette, Picpoul, and Bourboulenc grapes can also be pressed with the red grapes in Tavel to lighten the wine’s color and add some acidity. Tavel Rosé is typically very dry with flavors of tart berries, orange zest, and minerality.
Bordeaux, France, is another common rosé producing region. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carménère, Petit Verdot, and Merlot are primarily used for making Bordeaux Rosé. Rosé wine from this region tends to be very dry with strawberry, gooseberry, and grapefruit flavors. Bordeaux Rosé like the Rosé Initio from Leoville Bartonusually has that classic French Rosé pale pink color that so many adore.
What does rosé wine taste like? Is it sweet?
A somewhat common misconception is that all pink wine is sweet. From the descriptions above, you might have gathered that that is not always the case. Sweet rosé wines like White Zinfandel usually come from New World producers while dry rosé wines tend to come from Old World producers.
Common flavor descriptors include citrus, melon, red fruits, flowers, and even celery.
How is rosé wine made?
Various rosé production techniques exist including limited maceration, direct press, saignée, and blending. Both the limited maceration and direct press methods of making rosé are considered “intentional rosé”. This means the grapes are specifically grown and harvested to make rosé. On the other hand, saignée and blending are often byproducts of making other wines.
Limited maceration is one of the most common rosé vinification processes and is similar to the process that winemakers use when making red wine. During this process, grapes are crushed and the juice stays in contact with the skin for a time. The shorter the period of time that the juice stays in contact with the skins, the lighter the color of the wine will be. So, in the case of rosé, this time is limited to only a couple hours or up to one week. Then, the skin is removed from the juice and the wine ferments.
While limited maceration is similar to red winemaking, direct press or vin gris is more similar to the white wine making process. Direct press for rosé uses darker skinned grapes which are pressed and the juice is immediately removed from the skins. This results in pale rosé wines since the broken skin from the grapes provides just a hint of color and flavor, which is often more citrusy.
Saignée (French for “to bleed”) is a technique commonly used as a result of making big, bold reds. In order to concentrate the juice to make those powerful reds, some wine is bled off early in the maceration process. That lighter juice is then made into rosé separately. The saignée method often results in more deeply colored rosé wine that is richer and fruitier.
Another less common method for making rosé is blending white wine with red wine; however, this is not a practice that you are likely to see when it comes to fine wine producers in Europe. In fact, blending is not allowed in France. The only exception is the Champagne region where vignerons can add Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier for rosé Champagne.
How long does rosé wine last?
According to Food & Wine, “most pink wines are made for immediate drinking, but don’t ignore those that blossom in the bottle.” In some cases, aging rosé wine leads to more unique flavors and aromas. But don’t worry, at somMailier we always give you a recommended hold time for your wine! The Rosé Initio from Leoville Bartoncan be held for up to 10 years, and the Via Caritatis Lux in Domino rosécan be held for up to 5 years.
How should your serve your rosé?
First, remember to chill your rosé wine. Rosé should be served at approximately 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. While wine experts generally recommend to avoid putting ice cubes in your wine, you might remember from our ‘9 Dos of Drinking Wine’ blog post that “rosé a la piscine” serves as an exception to that rule where one adds ice to their rosé when sipping it poolside during the summer.
Next, choose the appropriate glassware for your rosé. Rosé glassware does exist. These glasses resemble tulip Champagne glasses and intensify the aromas of the wine, but white wine glasses work well, too!
When it comes to decanting, quality rosé will become more aromatic; however, this might also make the wine too warm. So, if you choose to decant your rosé, be sure to have the wine very cold beforehand and don’t decant it for too long so that you can still serve it at that 50-60 degree chilled temperature.
When is rosé wine season?
Because rosé wine is usually served chilled and is quite refreshing, spring and summer tend to be the most popular times to drink pink. Warm weather and refreshing rosé makes a perfect pairing, but we’re in favor of drinking what you like when you want!
What pairs with rosé?
Rosé wine has the refreshing qualities of white wine and the body and structure of red, making it perfect for pairing with a variety of dishes.
In general, chicken salad, salmon, feta, spinach, duck, barbecued veggies, charcuterie, and soft cheeses pair well with rosé, but you can always check out our pairing suggestions for each wine you order through somMailier. The Rosé Initio from Leoville Barton pairs well with grilled meat, charcuterie, or fish. If you’re looking for the perfect pairing for a light salad or seafood, you’ll love the Via Caritatis Lux in Domino rosé, which is also fantastic on its own as an aperitif!
Want to learn more about French wine? We’re here to help! Why not check out our French wine club? Every three months we send direct to your door three or six bottles of boutique French wines which have been carefully selected by wine experts in France along with detailed information about each wine and food pairing ideas to help you really discover French wine. And as if that wasn’t enough, we also have a wine club gift optionfor that special wine lover in your life!
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