Rosé wines – otherwise referred to as “Blush wines” – have always been an excellent alcoholic beverage when enjoying a summer barbecue. There are myriads of rosé wines out there, some of your favorites are probably produced in France, Australia, and California.
About Rosé Wines
There are a lot of differences between Old World rosé and New World rosé wines. The former is, in most cases, usually more dry than its New-World counterpart. For instance, California rosé wines can be said to be sweet or almost sweet, and this bears a close resemblance to the characteristics exhibited by white wines.
But nowadays, there are several California rosé producers that make bone-dry, elegant, and fruity rosé wines which closely resemble Old-World rosés.
How Rosé Wines are Produced
Rosé wines are produced in several ways, though the four best approaches to making this summer favorite include the following:
- Limited maceration
Let’s discuss each method briefly:
Bleeding or Saignée
This is the best method that produces the highest quality rosé wines. It begins by obtaining juice after stacking the wine grapes in a tank and allowing the weight of the grapes to do the crushing.
Since the juice is only in contact with the skins of the grapes for only a brief period, the rosé wine that is obtained via this technique looks pale. Rosé wines that are produced via this particular method are fruity, vibrant, and exhibit great freshness.
Although bleeding, as pointed out earlier, produces the best quality rosé wine, this method is known as “limited maceration” is the technique that is commonly used nowadays to produce rosé wines.
Limited maceration is a procedure in which the skins of grapes are left in contact with the juice until the winemaker becomes satisfied with the color that is derived. The fluid – or wine – after separating it from the grape skins are conveyed to another tank for the completion of the fermentation process.
Pressing – or Pressé – is a method by which red grapes are pressed until the juice obtained via that action, has the color that is desired. As soon as the preferred color is attained, the wine producer stops pressing the grapes.
The pressed juice is then obtained and used for making rosé wines.
Runoff is a procedure that occurs wine producer removes all the juice in the tank containing fermenting red wine. It is this particular juice that is used in producing rosé wine. The run-off process usually results in a more intense/dark red wine, i.e., the wine that is remaining in the fermentation vat.
Most oenophiles don’t give this method of producing rosé wine good ratings in their books because they assume they believe such rosé wines are unremarkable or average.
How To Buy The Best Rosé Every Time
There was a time when Rosé wines were enjoyed only within St. Tropez before eventually making its way to the United States where it became one of the staple wines enjoyed during summer.
But since then, Rosé wines have grown in popularity, and the demand for the fermented drink has grown in leaps and bounds. In 2015 alone, for instance, the sale of table wines grew to about 2% in volume while that of Rosé wines grew to more than 7% in volume, according to Nielsen data.
Many wine lovers have chosen not to enjoy this remarkable drink only during summer since it is lighter than red wine. Most red wines out there get their color as a result of the fermentation of white juice along with red-skinned grapes. Rosé wines are also a result of similar fermentation processes, but only for short periods.
Rosé wine pairs excellent well with almost any food you can think of: from cured meats or fish to Thanksgiving dinner, cheese, and even Asian cuisine.
Rosé wines get their distinct color from the skins of grapes used for red wine. How deep the color of rosé turns out depends significantly on the amount of time of contact with the grape skins. Besides the colors that are obtained from grape skins, flavor precursors and tannins are also discharged.
Directly pressed wines are produced via the short, skin contact time – i.e., a few hours – it takes to carry out a press cycle inside a pneumatic press.
As for macerated wines, they are a result of a more extended skin contact period – usually overnight – depending on the quality of the grape as well as its variety.
Both methods of producing great rosé wines are well-known; the only difference between the two has to do with style, and not quality.
However, like all delectable wines, Rosé wine also runs the gamut from a few bucks to hundred-dollar varieties from Provence. The valuable tips outlined in this section will help you to choose the best Rosé wine that pleases both your wallet as well as your palate:
Choose Rosé Wines from Trusted Regions Only
The wine universe is a constantly-evolving one which makes it somewhat tricky – even for pros – to determine the best wine regions in the world today. But experts recommend starting at some of the best Old-World regions which include Provence, Bordeaux, California, Oregon, and Northern Spain.
If you are not all that satisfied with that suggestion, then you should consider checking out every region that produces red wine. It is alleged that most red-wine-producing regions of the world also produce rosé wine.
Therefore, if you enjoy red wine from a specific region from time to time, you may also decide to give the rosé wine from that region a try. You may be pleasantly surprised that the rosé wine is right up your alley when it comes to the best alcoholic beverage in your opinion.
Find Out If It is Either Sweet or Dry
The secret that reveals whether or not a wine is dry is by the volume of the alcohol it contains, i.e., ABV (alcohol by volume) which is usually printed on the label. Any rosé wine that has an alcohol content higher than 11% is in the “dry” category.
If you like sweet wines, then go for wines with lower ABV. For instance, the lower the alcohol content in a bottle of rosé wine, the sweeter it will be. France, Italy, and Spain are old-world regions that produce tart and crispy wine compared to South America, Australia, and the United States which are new-world regions that produce sweeter and fruitier rosé wines.
You should also bear in mind that the color of rosé wine is not an indication of its sugar content. A darker rosé wine does not necessarily indicate that it would contain more sugar while a clearer rosés does not imply that the wine would be dry.
The French print the word “sec” (dry) on wine labels and this is commonly seen on wines that usually contain nothing less than 4 grams of sugar per liter. Labeling requirements are different for each wine-producing region or country; however, a few wineries go to the trouble of indicating whether their rosé wines are sweet or dry on labels of their products.
The best rosé wines have appetizing aromas. The wine should also taste fresh at room temperature. This stress test is useful for both rosés and whites.
Pick Recent Vintages at All Times
If you want to enjoy the best of rosé wines – with a few exceptions – then you should always go for recent vintages. For instance, the “freshest” rosé wines are the ones produced this year, 2019. So, get a few bottles for yourself and have the time of your life drinking with friends or colleagues.
Do not allow yourself to be hooked with exclusive cut-price deals that are rife on the internet these days. It is an attempt by someone who is trying to dump overstock from last year into your lap while making good money off the sale.
However, if what you are looking for is a richly flavored or full-bodied rosé wine – which usually comes with several notes of nuts and dried fruits – you may go for wines produced in 2017 and 2016.
Mature rosés are usually aged between five and eight years mostly produced in barrels and present hints of vanilla when taken.
Always Examine the Color
In most cases, dark rosé wines have a richer mouthfeel and the style slightly fruitier compared to the onion-skin, pale colors. Never use the intensity of the color as a clue to the quality of rosé wine.
The color “pink” is an excellent indication of freshness and color as you can see since most rosé wines come in clear bottles. At times, you could come across a lurid or pale hue, but whatever it is, you must ensure that the color of the rosé wine is still within the purple spectrum of pink.
Always choose your favorite grapes
Nearly every grape used for the production of red wine can be used for making a rosé wine. The main base of the rosé will be highly noticeable compared to other flavors. So, for instance, Cabernet-based rosé will have more of black fruit aromas like black plums, blackberries, etc. while pinot noir rosé typically has tart red fruit flavors such as strawberries, cherries, etc.
The palate should have a slight hint of tannin and crisp acidity. A good rosé wine should have a measure of acidity, a dash of residual sugar – even if it is as little as 3-4 g/l – which could enhance fruit flavors. The deciding factor here is sufficient acidity.
The Paler, The Better: How True is This?
It is logical to assume that pale wines have the shortest maceration, and therefore, may not be too fruity or flavorful. Nevertheless, there are many pale wines out there that have undergone maceration to the extent that there are enough tannin structure and flavor to give a good rosé wine taste. Many rosé wines in this category ended up having their excess color removed, resulting in an elegantly pale rosé wine with enough flavor and that Provençal look. This is not an easy process, but it is not impossible to achieve.
Directly Pressed Wines
The AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) Provence naturally allows the use of maceration and direct pressing in the process of producing rosé wines. The direct pressing process is used by some wine producers who have red grapes that are just about ripe. But any green flavors from unripe skins are carefully avoided.
Directly pressed rosé wines are also excellent options for you if you are looking for a refreshing drink to sip without food. However, rosé wines can be paired with seafood or sashimi.
Direct pressing is also the best option for red grapes – which may not have sufficient concentration to produce serious reds – obtained from young vines. This is primarily the case with Pinot Noir which results in a fresh, fun, and fruity wine at a great value.
There are also several kinds of macerated rosé wine; a few of them are produced from grapes that are grown purposely for rosé, macerated so that the color, flavor, and tannins can be extracted. It is then pressed and fermented to give the final product.
Some macerated rosé wines, on the other hand, are the drawn-off juice obtained from red-wine ferments, otherwise known as “saignée.” They are usually bled off to thicken or concentrate the subsequent red wine.
However, this should not, by any means, make you frown at such rosé products, thereby steering clear of them. If by chance, the rosé is drawn or obtained from a flawless red ferment of low-yielding but ripe and flavorsome grapes, you are about to have one of the greatest thrills in your life!
But then, there are also many rosé wines obtained via a process that is directly opposite the one outlined in the previous paragraph. These macerated wines are bled off from a hot ferment of overripe and over-cropped red grapes. So, choose your rosé wine carefully, following the tips highlighted earlier in this section.
What Else Do You Need to Consider?
The variety of grape that has cherry notes, thin skins along with its full-fruited berry and the most popular staple for rosé wines is Grenache. At times, white grapes are added to the mix in the press for additional acidity and freshness. Example of such a product is Rolle or Vermentino, wines that are not only lovely to look at but also incredibly fruity. For more backbone, try a Cabernet Sauvignon rosé.
Try These 10 Rosé Wines and Experience Rapture on Earth
Rosé wines have always been diverse and often – erroneously – linked with the sweetness experienced by lovers of the low-priced White Zinfandel. But oenophiles know that there is so much more to rosé wines that meet the eye or the palate as the case may be.
Rosé is one of the most attention-grabbing categories of wines in the wine universe today. It is made from virtually all over the world, specifically in some of the most popular wine-producing regions in the world. They are also made from nearly all varietals of grapes and incredibly superb for food pairings.
So, if you are ready to take a nose-dive into the world of rosé, here are some bottles you should consider having on your wine rack, especially since summer is fast approaching.
Tip: Rosé wines are no longer “summer wines” but an all-season refreshment. You should also take note that these bottles of refreshing goodness are arranged in no particular order:
Chateau Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé
If you are looking for the king in France’s Côtes de Provence region, then you just found it. Some wine lovers even calculate the estimate of Rosé in this area to be up to 90% of the AOC’s production. This is where you will find not only the lightest pink color but also the driest rosé as well.
One of the best wines to tease your palate with is the Chateau Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé. It is dry – yet refreshing – and elegant with its lovely floral and fruit flavors along with a clean finish. It is the perfect drink to have on your spring table, especially when paired with a fruit tart or spring chicken.
And yes, the popularity of this rosé wine has nothing to do with its celebrity backing. For those who may not know, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are part-owners of this grand estate. Without any doubt, this fruity Cinsault-Grenache blend stands elegantly on its own steam.
Pursued by Bear Blushing Bear Rosé
Pursued by Bear Blushing Bear Rosé, although produce in Columbia Valley, Washington State, was inspired by the rosés in the French Bandol region. The wine pairs Cinsault and Grenache to create a fascinating blend.
Blushing Bear Rosé is a pale-colored wine that comes with a light flavor, though beautifully crisp. If you have fresh produce or seafood on hand, then you need to wash everything down with this remarkable rosé wine.
Bodega Muga Flor de Muga Rosé
For those who may not be in the know, Spain is also a strong supporter and producer of some of the best rosé wines in the world today. This is evident when you get your hands on a bottle of Bodega Muga Flor de Muga Rosé wine. This beautiful catch for any wine connoisseur originates from the highly revered La Rioja Alta region where the local winemakers ensure that the traditional practices keep thriving with no signs of slowing down.
The Bodega Muga Flor de Muga Rosé wine is made entirely from Grenache (Garnacha) grapes and its fascinating aroma of red fruit hooks you in such a way that you will find yourself sipping the wine until you have the dregs at the bottom of your wine glass.
You can pair the Bodega Muga Flor de Muga Rosé wine with Spanish rice dish if you want to enjoy a heavenly treat!
Rosatello Sparkling Rosé
Every wine lover agrees that Italian sparkling wines are dazzling and can hold their own beside French champagne. The Rosatello Sparkling Rosé wine is a testament to this fact thanks to the Tuscan specialists at Rosatello. A sip of a glass of rosé wine from the creative minds of these vintners will make you fall head over heels in love with the Rosatello Sparkling Rosé.
One sip and the light, refreshing taste of sweet berries will flood your senses. The effervescent is something you will always smile at as you enjoy this astonishing drink with a cheese plate on a hot summer night.
Underwood Rosé Bubbles
Canned wines have started emerging into the wine universe of late, and though there is no clear-cut indication that shows that this development is welcomed with open arms, many wine lovers don’t mind at all. At least, not after you have had the opportunity of having a mouthful of the sparkling Underwood Rosé Bubbles.
There is no better drink that you can sip on the go in summer than the Underwood Rosé Bubbles on the can. No matter how adventurous you are, anywhere you go, this beautiful can of Underwood rosé wine will keep you company. All you need to take note of is that each can of Underwood Rosé Bubbles is precisely half a bottle of rosé wine. So, remember to sip the content slowly.
It is the perfect company for campers and for people who are more accustomed to drinking beer. The tasting notes are bold, and you will recognize these flavors: tart cherry, fruit cocktail, and wild strawberry.
Le Grand Noir Rosé
Le Grand Noir Rosé is an incredibly affordable wine made almost entirely of Chardonnay grapes. This rosé wine originates from Minervois, Southern France which is a region that is renowned for producing delectable red wines.
Le Grand Noir Rosé is sweet with notes of ginger, mango, and strawberries. This is the perfect crisp rosé wine for setting any dinner in summer off in style. You are at liberty to pair Le Grand Noir Rosé with a fresh summer salad or a grilled salmon.
Sonoma-Cutrer Rosé of Pinot Noir
Rosé of Pinot Noir is a new rosé wine from the stable of Sonoma-Cutrer and is made of 100% Pinot Noir grapes cultivated in Russian River Valley, California. Every vintage of this highly limited-edition rosé wine is so alluring you will wish you had a river full of it right in your backyard.
Rosé of Pinot Noir offers extraordinary elegance with its fresh and crisp acidity along with delicious hints of rhubarb, cherry, and strawberry. You can pair this exceptional wine with goat cheese toast, asparagus and mushroom quiche, etc.
Edna Valley Vineyard Rosé
Fans of Pinot Grigio or wine lovers who prefer the dry taste of wines can always go for Edna Valley Vineyard Rosé. It is a California rosé that is produced from a wine producer that specializes in the production of Chardonnay. However, the rosé that is produced has four different varietals.
Edna Valley Vineyard Rosé is crisp, clean with both strawberry and raspberry flavors to spice it up. It is an excellent choice for parties and can be paired lovingly with steamed mussels, sushi rolls, etc.
Castello del Poggio Sweet Rosé
Castello del Poggio Sweet Rosé is a budget-friendly and sweet rosé from the Italian vintners that major in the production of sweet wine along with a few Moscatos.
A sip of this sweet wine and you will perceive an array of fruits such as pomegranate, white peach, etc. It pairs well with any cuisine you have during summer, and it is the #1 choice drink for wine cocktails.
Villiera Tradition Rosé Brut
Many oenophiles are always genuinely surprised when they learn that this dry but rich wine known as Villiera Tradition Rosé Brut originates from South Africa. This rosé wine remarkably follows the style of the renowned dry brut Champagne.
Villiera Tradition Rosé Brut is a product of the perfect blending of Pinotage, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir grapes. It can even age excellently well for about three years. It is pocket-friendly and ideal to be on your wine rack, waiting for that perfect occasion.
Villiera Tradition Rosé Brut has lively bubbles, and its vibrant pink color is quite engaging. It is truly an award winner, thanks to its perfect balance. You can pair the Villiera Tradition Rosé Brut with vegetarian pizza, veal piccata, etc.
The Perfect Cheeses to Pair with Rosé Wine
A bottle of rosé always makes a sunny day bearable, and this refreshing drink goes with almost any type of meal: BBQs, appetizers, picnics brunch as well as dinner parties.
Wine and cheese make an excellent pair, but not every cheese pairs well with a bottle of rosé wine. It is highly crucial for you to always ensure that you pair rosé wine with cheese that will brace the acidity as well as the slight berry flavors of the alcoholic beverage.
Here are some cheeses that make a good pair with a bottle of rosé wine:
Goat cheese is renowned for its tangy and acidic flavor which makes it one of the most excellent pair with a chilled bottle of rosé wine, especially one that is sparkling and its acidity at high levels. Although goat cheese and rosé make a good pair, you can also experiment by checking it out with aged varieties.
Goat cheese goes well with bread or crackers. You can also make use of a goat cheese toast which is primarily made up of avocado, herbs, and berries.
Rochetta is a vibrant and creamy Italian cheese which is composed of a blend of three different kinds of milk: sheep, cow, and goat. However, the flavor of goat’s milk dominates the other flavors significantly well.
Rochetta is earthy, tangy, and fresh. It pairs nicely with a rosé wine that exhibits a hint of fresh berries in the aroma or flavor.
You can always substitute cheese with another cheese created by the same producer: Caseificio dell’Alta Langha. Other delicious options are Brunet and La Tur.
This exceptional flavor is the product of a Spanish cow’s milk and has this grassy taste and aroma that evokes the thoughts of the lush hillsides of the Mediterranean as well as the salty air of the island of Menorca, where this cheese called Mahon originates from.
Mahon has a creamy texture, a sharp bite, and is served best with a bottle of well-chilled Spanish rosé wine and a side of salami.
Mahon that is not aged is semi-firm but has a buttery but mild flavor. Aged Mahon – at least up to four months or more – is saltier with a more complex flavor. Mahon that has aged up to twelve months exhibit an intense caramelized salty taste with a texture that is like Parmesan.
This salty and tangy feta cheese matches well with the crisp acidity of rosé wine. The clean flavor of the rosé wine helps to wash down this delicious cheese, thus making room for more.
All you need to do is to top a wedge of feta with fresh herbs and olive oil and then serve the ensemble with olive bread. Then wash it down with a chilled glass of rosé wine.
Gruyere or Appenzeller
Gruyere and Appenzeller are two Swiss kinds of cheese that have a creamy but dense texture as well as the intense flavor that is derived from the perfect blend of spices, herbs, and alcohol which is rubbed on the rinds as these cheeses age.
What makes both the Gruyere and Appenzeller a decent pair with a bottle of chilled rosé wine is their slightly spicy and herbal characteristics. It is even more enjoyable if the rosé wine is also spicy.
As you can see, rosé wine has really made its mark in the wine universe, and many sommeliers are learning to pair this remarkable drink with other dishes from around the world.
So, you are at liberty to put your palate to the test by trying any rosé wine you come across, and you won’t be disappointed by this awesome summer beverage!