By Charli Tanner
If you’re a wine lover who adores all things rosy and pink, rosé wine might be the perfect match for you. Rosé is a crisp, refreshing, and easy-to-drink wine that’s exploded in popularity over the past few years. It’s a huge hit in the U.S. during the warmer months as it provides a light alternative to richer red wines.
Rosé is ideal for easy drinking at backyard barbecues, casual gatherings, and special occasions, thanks to its versatility and evergreen appeal.
Here’s everything you need to know about this rosy wine to help you decide whether or not to add it to your shopping list!
How is Rosé Wine Made?
Most casual wine drinkers already know that white grapes make white wine, and red grapes make red wine. However, there is no such thing as a naturally pink grape. So, how do winemakers make rosé wines with such a beautiful pink hue?
The trick to creating rosé lies in the contact between grape skins. The color of a wine is determined not only by the color of the grapes used to make it, but also by the contact between grape skins and flesh as they soak together. It’s the grape skins that infuse grape juice with color, creating a golden, red, or rosy hue. This is a process known as maceration, and winemakers make rosé wines by juicing red grapes and allowing the juice and skins to macerate for only a short period of time, creating a light pink juice.
Once the grape juice has taken on the right rosy shade, the winemaker will remove the grape skins and allow the juice to ferment until it becomes a tantalizing rosé.
Fermentation, Clarification and Aging
Most rosé wines are usually on the drier side and left to ferment until the yeast has converted all the sugar in the grape juice into alcohol. Once this process is complete, the wine is transferred to a different container, leaving heavy sediment behind, and then filtered through a mesh to clarify it. The product that results still contains sediment, so winemakers use coagulants such as clay to bind to these particles and create a perfectly clear, rosy wine.
After clarification, the wine is often aged in barrels or steel casks, depending on whether or not the winemaker wants to add a wooded finish. Rosés that are lighter in color are usually left to age in their bottles.
Where Does Rosé Originate From?
Rosé wines hail from all over the world, from the U.S. and France to South Africa, Australia, and dozens of other regions across the globe. However, the region known for producing the most popular and delicious pink wines is Provence in France. This area creates more rosés than any other type of wine, and winemakers here have honed their skills over generations as a result.
Provence produces a wide and diverse range of rosé wines at an equally wide range of price points. So, if you’re looking to try a quality rosé for the first time, asking for a vintage from Provence will often be your safest bet. With that said, if you want to support local wineries instead, there are plenty of winemakers in the U.S. that produce exceptional rosé wines too!
What Does Rosé Taste Like?
Rosé comes in many forms and flavor profiles, depending on the grapes and techniques used in the making of it. The best pink wines are made using red grapes, although the acids and tannins from the skins have only brief contact with the must (the squeezed grape juice) before being removed. This means that rosé usually has a taste reminiscent of red wine but without the strong tannin profiles expected from darker vintages.
Some of the most common flavor profiles offered by rosés include cherries, strawberries, guavas, citrus fruits, roses, sweet melon, rhubarb, peaches, apples, and vanilla beans.
Exploring Rosé Varietals
As mentioned above, rosé comes in a diverse range of varietals from many different parts of the world. Some of the most popular varietals available include:
- Provence rosé – Light, fruity French wine with notes of roses and fruit
- Mourvèdre rosé – Full bodied, floral rosé varietal
- Rosé champagne – Crisp and often dry champagne with a delicate rosy hue
- Pinot noir rosé – Fresh, crisp and invigorating wine with fruity notes
- Zinfandel rosé – Sweet varietal with robust berry flavors
- Syrah rosé – Robust rosé with hints of cherries, olives, and berries
- Tavel rosé – Bold, dry vintage with a nutty flavor profile
- Tempranillo rosé – Spanish wine with a refreshingly dry and savory taste
How to Serve Your Rosé
Rosé wine is typically enjoyed during the warmer months of the year, but it makes for easy drinking all year around. It’s best served at around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit, so we recommend serving it chilled, either over ice or without, depending on your personal preferences.
Serve your wine by pouring around three ounces into a wine glass and allowing it to oxidize and release its tempting flavors and scents before enjoying.
Storing Rosé Wines
As with most wines, rosé should get stored in a cool, dark place to preserve its flavor profile and rosy color. Once opened, it should get refrigerated or stored in a cooler box during travel to keep it tasting its best.
Recommended Rosé Wine Pairings
Drier rosé wines pair well with most chicken dishes, light salads, grilled and baked vegetables, and cheese platters. Sweeter wines are an ideal match with lamb, salmon, and duck dishes, and a selection of exotic fruits.
Most rosés also pair well with egg dishes like quiches and frittatas; seafood dishes including shrimp, lobster, and fresh tuna; and many warm climate cuisines, including Indian, Thai, Provencal, and Greek cuisines.
A Drink For All Seasons
Rosé wines are smooth, fruity, lightly dry, and easy to drink throughout the year. The diversity of rosés available on the market ensures you can choose dry, sweet, or sparkling wines based on your preference and menu. Plus, their low serving temperature makes them a refreshing addition to any outdoor gathering or al fresco meal with good friends.
If you enjoy light, flavorful wines with a soft pink hue, you need to try rosé!