Once regarded solely for consumption on a hot summer day by ladies, rosé wine has evolved over the past few decades. Thankfully these old stereotypes have disappeared, and rosé wine has gained immense popularity among both sexes. Now considered a wine that is suitable for all seasons, many are now even paired with food.
What is a rosé wine, and what does it taste like?
Rosé wines are made in most of the wine-producing countries around the world and can be made from any grape variety that is currently being cultivated. It comes in a variety of colors that range from very pale pink (almost white) to a deep ruby red. In Provence, there are strict rules that regulate the hue of pink for rosé wines. In the rest of the world, there are no rules that govern wine color. As a result, a myriad of different shades of rosé wines exist. Rosé wine has an ABV that is between 11-14.5%.
With a flavor profile similar to light red wines, rosé wines often display flowers, melon, celery, citrus, red fruits, herbs, and spices on the nose and palate. Rosé wine is traditionally made from red grapes; the production techniques are similar to those used for making red wine; the one major difference is that there is less contact between the juice and grape skins before the start of malolactic fermentation. It is important to note that there are different levels of quality among rosé wines. The method of production and the grapes that are used in the wine play a vital part in the final wine that is produced.
Rosé wines are not made for long-term aging; they traditionally have a short lifespan and are designed for immediate drinking as soon as they are released into the market. There is one notable exception to this rule, rosé wines that are produced within the Bandol appellation in Provence, which are made from the Mourvèdre grape, which is known for its high quality and can age successfully for up to ten years.
What are the three different types of rosé wine, and how is each one made?
Most rosé wines are made through maceration (when red grape skins are in contact with the clear grape juice). The longer the juice is in contact with the skins, the darker the color of the wine. The maceration process for rosé wines lasts around two or three days, the skins are then removed, and the fermentation process begins. Most rosé wines are still, but they can also be sparkling (for example, rosé Champagne).
Blended Rosés - As its name indicates, this rosé is made from a mix of different red grape varieties or a blend of red and white grapes. If the wine combines red and white grapes, most of the grape juice usually comes from white grapes. It is common to add a very small percentage of red grape juice to give it color.
Saignée Rosé - In French, “Saignée” means to bleed; these rosés are made without pressing. When red grapes have been pressed, the winemaker will remove part of the red grape juice so that the remaining juice has a higher skin-to-juice ratio for the production of red wine. The “run-off” is light pink in color and is made into a rosé wine. Wines made using the saignée method are very good quality and are the most common rosé on the market.
Designate Rosés - These are the least common rosés because they are produced from grapes that are grown solely for the production of rosé wine. One of the reasons that this type of rosé is less common is that a winemaker can make more profit by making red wine, and therefore using the grapes only for the production of rosé wine is less financially viable.
Popular sweet and dry rosé wines from around the world
What is the best way to serve a rosé wine?
To enjoy rosé wine to its very fullest, it should be chilled to a temperature between 50 and 60°F (10-15.5°C) before being consumed. As with all wines, using the correct glassware expresses the attributes of the wine; a stemmed glass with a short bowl and a slightly flared lip is perfect. Otherwise, a white wine glass is also suitable. Though often served on its own, it goes perfectly with many different foods; for example, a sweet rosé pairs nicely with savory foods such as roasts and barbequed food, while a dry rosé is a perfect compliment to salads, grilled chicken and fish, or vegetables.
Some of the most famous rosé wines are produced in Provence, France. Over the past several decades, there has been a rising trend in demand for rosé wine. As a result, winemakers around the world have risen to the challenge (including many Texan wineries), and through experimentation with different grape varieties, there are some very exciting wines of excellent quality available. If you prefer a light, dry, or deeply rich, full-bodied wine, there is a rosé wine on the market that will be perfect for you!