It’s time for everyone’s favorite warm-weather drink—rosé! Rosé wine has gotten so huge over the past few years and we all seem to be seeing the world through pink-tinted glasses. Today I’m sharing a download of what basics you need to know about rosé, and also sharing a few of my favorites to drink!
Rosé: Not a Mix of Red & White Wine
I’ve had this conversation a few different times lately so we’re going set the record straight here. And me too – before I started studying wine, I just kind of figured you mixed red and white wine together! White plus red = pink…makes sense, right?! Not the case.
To make most rosé wine, red grapes are lightly crushed and left to soak with their red skins for a little while (anywhere from a few hours to a few days), after which the juice is strained out from the solid stuff (called “must”) and fermented. The sooner the grape skins are removed, the lighter the rosé will be; the longer they sit in and stain the wine, the deeper pink the rosé. That also makes sense, when you think about it, right?
What Rosé is Made From
Now that you know how it’s made, let’s talk about the grapes. Rosé is made from many different grapes — nearly any red wine grape can be used to make rosé wine, however there are several common styles and grapes that are preferred. It can be made from one of these grapes or a blend of multiple grapes, just like a red or white blend. Some common ones include:
- Pinot Noir
So, when you see “Pinot Noir Rosé” on the label, now you know!
That Pretty Pink Color
A very general rule may be that the lighter the color, the drier the wine. That doesn’t necessarily mean the darker wines are sweet, but the darker pink wines will likely be fruit-forward and have higher tannins since the skins were allowed to remain in contact with the juice for longer. The colors usually found in rosés can range from melon to peach to blush to strawberry.
The tasting notes generally associated with rosés include words like grapefruit, citrus, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, and minerality. Profiles like these make rosés ideal for spring, summer or anytime you want a light, refreshing wine!
Where Rosé is Made
Provence, France, is the holy grail of rosé wines. Provence is considered to be the most consistent for creating high quality rosé at any price point. I’d say when in doubt, choose one from this region. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre are all used to create these very pale pink rosés that are usually more salmon-colored. They have aromas of strawberry, watermelon, and roses, with a slight salty minerality on the finish.
France is the main producer of rosé wines, at almost 30% of the world’s production. The Provencal (Provence) region produces the majority of the rosés to come out of France, but the Loire Valley and the Rhone region are 2 other good locations to look out for. The United States and Italy are the next largest producers, and the US is the second-largest consumer after France (no big surprise, there!). Many of my favorite rosés are out of California.
Also a great option, if you’re not feeling the French wines — Spanish rosados. These tend to be a little bigger and bolder than their French neighbors, with deeper pink color and up-front fruit flavors that work well with meat dishes. They’re also less-hyped and therefore usually a good buy.
Rosé with Food
Rosé is not one of those wines that you “need” to pair with food. It’s great alone on a spring or summer afternoon on a patio with some good friends!
But if you want to pair it, think about the origin of the wine — and this is a great rule overall for pairing — if you follow the food that comes out of the huge rosé wine producing region of Provence, France, you will find that the most logical pairings will be with spicy Mediterranean foods common to that area such as garlic, hummus and seafood. Because rosé should be served chilled, it is suited to almost any food from warm-weather areas. Fish and shellfish are always good pairings, as well as you can do just about any type of Mexican, Thai or Greek cuisine.
Rosé wines are typically less expensive than red wines, because they do not have to mature for long and are simpler to make. You don’t need to shell out the big bucks for a fantastic tasting rosé.
If this post is making you thirsty, here are A few of favorites that I recommend:
Lafage Miraflors Rosé 2017
This is the bottle I’m holding above – it’s a gorgeous bottle and a perfect, easy to drink wine. It’s also under $15! Winestore said this was their best selling wine of the entire year last year!
Whispering Angel 2017
The rosé that started the craze. This one is a blend of Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah, and Mourvedre grapes. It’s pale pink in color, fresh, delicate and dry.
Blackbird Vineyards Arriviste Rose 2016
This is one of my favorite vineyards for red wines, too. This one is salmon-pink colored and made of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. It’s fruity, clean, and simply mouth-watering!
Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses Rose 2017
This is a pale pink, almost orange rosé. It’s fruity with a bit of grapefruit, although fresh, full and balanced to taste.
Mirabeau Pure Rose 2016
This is a great light-pink rosé that is dry, full and rich with fruit and spice notes. Easy drinking and great with food!
Lioco Indica Rose 2017
I just ordered a case of this wine! Lioco is one of my favorite wineries in CA and they sure do make a good rosé. Indica is an “intentional Rosé” meaning all the fruit goes directly-into-the-press and 100% of the juice is used. This is almost orange in color, and bone dry, with complex notes touches of pink grapefruit, watermelon, and minerality.
Kunin Phoebe 2016
This is one that we discovered on a recent trip to Santa Barbara last year and fell in love with. It has touches of citrus and minerality and is pale salmon in color, super-crisp and so refreshing!
Hope you all enjoy a rosé state of mind this weekend…and if you have a good one to share, please comment back!
xx — BB