Light, crisp and a very drinkable wine, Rosé is a perennial favourite for so many people. If you’re intrigued about this wine, its origin, what to drink it with and how it compares to other red and white wines, keep reading!
What is Rosé Wine?
Rosé wine is a pale pink wine made from red grape varietals that are pressed prior to fermentation, resulting in a lighter, brighter wine.
Where is Rosé Wine From?
Rosé is made all over the world, from South Africa to the USA to the famed Loire Valley in France. There’s evidence to suggest that what we now know as Rosé was actually the most common form of wine in the pre-modern era of viticulture.
With less advanced maturation techniques, the must (ferment of juice and skins) would have less time in contact with the skins, resulting in a pale pink wine.
How is Rosé Wine Made?
Rosé can be made using three different methods. Let’s explore these methods by going through the winemaking process and seeing where these techniques can be employed.
Harvesting: Winemakers wait all year for the harvest season, the time where their efforts and labour will come to fruition. Grapes used from Rosé will be picked when they have the right sugar content and acidity. To test this, winemakers use a tool called a refractometer which bounces light through a drop of the fruit’s juice and gives a reading. The grapes are then picked and sorted.
Crushing and Pressing: It is here that one of two methods is employed. If the winemaker’s goal is to solely make a Rosé, he or she will allow the grapes to have a small amount of time in contact with the skins after crushing. This is called the ‘skin contact’ method.
If the must be used to make a red wine, a small amount of the juice is removed after crushing while the rest goes on to ferment. This is often the case with Pinot Noir which might yield a smaller harvest than other varietals. This method is called ‘bleeding’ or Saignée.
Fermentation Process: Fermentation is the process that converts sugar to alcohol through the introduction of yeast. As Rosé is usually dry, the must is left to ferment until all the sugar has been converted into
Clarification: From here the wine is first moved to another container, leaving the heavier sediment behind. It is then filtered through a fine mesh. The resultant product is still cloudy, so the winemaker must introduce a coagulant like clay to bind the smaller particles before the liquid can be truly clear.
Ageing: At this point the winemaker can choose to further age the Rosé, either in barrels (giving it a ‘wooded’ finish) or in steel casks which introduce no new flavour. Pale Rosés are thought to age better in the bottle than darker varieties.
There is another method that can be used to produce Rosée: blending. Blending is more than a little sacrilegious in the wine community. So much so that it’s banned in france.
What Does Rosé Wine Taste Like?
Rosé comes in many different forms. There are many different varietals that can be used to make pink wine, all with their own unique flavour profile.
As discussed above, good Rosé should be made with a red grape, with the tannins and acids from the skins having very little contact time with the must. This means that a Rosé should resemble a lighter, brighter red wine.
Common hints of flavour include citrus, strawberries and cherry.
Is Rosé Wine Sweet Or Dry?
While sweet Rosé is common – especially on the cheaper side of the wine rack – a good Rosé should be elegant and dry.
Is Rosé a Strong Wine?
While you may get some strong Rosés, by and large pink wines are lighter in alcohol content, making them easier to consume.
How to Drink Rosé Wine
Rosé is meant to be an easygoing drink, but that doesn’t mean it lacks flavour. If you want to get a better taste for the wine, follow these simple steps:
Take an inhale through the nose, becoming aware of the immediate flavours. Good Rosé can have hints of stone fruit and citrus.
Sip & Hold
On the first sip you’ll be able to taste the wine’s acidity and sweetness. Holding it in your mouth you’ll be able to feel Rosé’s signature lightness. This light mouth-feel is due to the low to medium ABV (Alcohol by Volume).
Swallow & Exhale
On the exhale you’ll pick up on another, subtler set of flavour notes that will round out the wine’s profile. Even a dry Rosé might have a touch of summery sweetness.
Over-icing a good Rosé will dilute your glass and numb your taste buds.
What Food Does Rosé Wine Pair With?
Rosé’s elegant, delicate flavour profile means it can pair with almost anything. Think of a warm day, lunch or early dinner – a meal with which you might have an easygoing white wine. It pairs well with salmon, poultry, lamb, soft cheeses and charcuterie.
What is a Good Rosé Wine?
A good Rosé is dry, light and made from a single varietal, from a single vineyard. As mentioned above, a good Rosé is not blended!
A bad Rosé will be too sweet and heavily acidic, producing an uncomfortable burn in the back of the throat that will completely ruin its lightness and brightness.
How Much Does a Bottle of Rosé Cost?
Rosé, like most wines, can come in a range of prices. When buying a bottle of Rosé, keep the purpose of that bottle in mind. If you’re taking it to a party, rather buy three bottles of something affordable. If it’s for an anniversary picnic, treat yourself and your partner to something delicious!
Is Rosé a Girly Drink?
As we’ve discussed – good Rosé is a wonderful, versatile drink, and it would be pitiful to avoid it out of fear of being perceived as feminine.
Drinks have no gender, however, sub-par wine companies will often try to target a specific market in order to maximise on sales. Don’t let the gender police steal your fun!
Is Rosé Sweeter Than Moscato?
Moscato is a wine made of blended Muscat grapes that’s usually much sweeter than Rosé.