5 Facts You Might Not Know About Rose Wine

Posted on 26 May 2017 by Anna Scott
The sun is out, come six o’clock, the chilled wine will be flowing, and we’re betting quite a few pink bottles will be purchased on the way home from work. There’s something about the summer that demands a bottle of rosé wine. We drink white all year-round, but for some reason we save the pink stuff for the warmer months, making it even more special, partly because the chances of getting rosé weather are rather limited in this country. So to celebrate rosé season (while it lasts), here are some interesting rosé wine facts to ponder while you quaff your drop of the pink stuff…


Rose wine


Most Rose is Made from Red Grapes

You might not have even considered how it is made, but we’re going to tell you anyway. The colour in red wine comes from the liquid being kept in contact with the grape skins for a certain period of time (this also gives heavier red wines body and tannins too), so it follows that most rosé wine is made is a similar way. It’s called maceration, and to get the pink colour the grape juice has just a small about of contact with the skins to get the desired result before it is fermented, so the darker then rosé, the longer it has spent with them. The grapes used very much depends on where the wine comes from, and regions with large production of a particular type of red wine might make a rosé from the same grape. So, Spainish rosé is most commonly made from grapes found in Spanish wines such as Rioja (Garnacha and Tempranillo), and rosé from the Southern France is often made from Syrah or Grenache (Garnacha by another name).


...But Not Necessarily the Same Way

You might assume that some rosé wine is a blend of white and red wine mixed together. Well, if so then you’re half right because most still rosé isn’t but sparkling rosé is another matter entirely, with Champagne being the classic example of this way of making their pink stuff. Most non-vintage Champagnes (the most common type you will find) are made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. As you might have detected, the last two of these are red, but the final sparkling wine stays white because the grape juice has no contact with the grape skins. However, when making pink Champagne a tiny amount of red Pinot Noir wine is blended with the Chardonnay to give the desired effect.


The Younger the Rose Wine the Better

This is a rule for lighter wines in general. For example, a lot of white wines we associate with summer such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are made to be drunk straight away and the same goes for a lot of rosé. These sorts of wines haven’t been kept in oak to prolong their life, so it’s best to enjoy them as soon as you can. There are always some exceptions to this rule, such as the rosés that come from Tavel in France, but if you come across a bottle of rosé (especially very light coloured rosé) that’s a couple of years old, it’s probably going to be past its best.


Rose Doesn’t Have to be Sweet. Or Dry

Depending on your experience of rosé wine, the chances are you prefer the sweeter styles (most commonly the ones labelled ‘White Zinfandel’ from California), or a leaner, drier European style. But it’s always worth emphasising that, much like white wine, rosé too can come in many different forms. One of the most popular is Provence Rosé, easily identifiable by its very pale pink, almost orange, colour and they are usually dry and have watermelon and citrus flavours. At the other end of the scale are those sweet Californian rosés that are almost like sucking on a boiled sweet.


…And They Don’t Have to taste of Strawberries

Many of them do have hints of strawberry flavours, but rosé can come with a wide variety of flavours including melon, peach, peppery notes and lemon. This array also makes them an excellent match with many different types of food, especially dry rosés. Which is probably why we love them so much with a barbeque!


So it’s not JUST about the colour, as attractive as that is. It turns out we all drink lots of rosé in the summer because it’s interesting and complex. Oh, and it tastes really good too. That helps A LOT.


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