LEARN ABOUT ROSÉ WINES
WINE EDUCATION: Rosé Wines
April celebrates Rosé Wines at Taylor’s Wine Shop, and if you cannot make it to our tasting this month, you can learn all Rosé wines right here! Rosé has become incredibly popular and exploded in the US market over the past couple years, but most of us don’t know how rosé is made or where some of the most consistent rosés comes from.
“Pink wine happily spans the colorspace between red and white wine, in a way, rosé is more like a state of mind.” – Wine Folly
Rosé has become very popular in the US over the past few years, especially during the warmer spring and months of the year. In France, it now eclipses the sale of white wine! It also happens to be the perfect wine for sipping poolside, at a backyard barbecue or a Parking Lot Party! Suffice it to say, rosé has become incredibly popular, but most of us don’t know how rosé is made or where some of the most consistent rosés comes from.
So if white grapes make white wine and red grapes become red wine, are there pink grapes for rosé? How do winemakers create wine with a pretty pink color? It’s all about skin contact! When grapes, no matter their color, are juiced, the juice that runs out of the fruit is clear. Wines receive their color not from the juice but from the juice’s contact with the skin of the grapes. As the skins and the juice soak together the color from the skin bleeds into the juice, giving the wine its yellow or red color. This process is known as maceration. Two other methods to make rosé are Saignée or “Bled” Method and Blending Method.
Rosé happens when the skins of red grapes touch wine for only a short period of time, often times only two or three days. Where some red wines ferment for weeks at a time on red grape skins, rosé wines are stained red for just a few hours. The winemaker determines the color of the wine, and as soon as the juice begins to take on the beautiful pink color the winemaker wants, the red grape skins are removed, which gives the wine that red pigment, and the juice is allowed to ferment, creating delicious rosé. As you can imagine, nearly any red wine grape (from Cabernet Sauvignon to Syrah) can be used to make rosé wine, however there are several common styles and grapes that are preferred for rosé.
A common misconception is that rosé can also be made by mixing red wine with white wine, but in fact, this process is frowned upon by the wine community. What about White Zinfandel, is it a rosé? White Zinfandel is indeed a rosé wine, made in the rosé style, it just happens to be an incredibly sweet rosé.
The primary flavors of rosé wine are red fruit, flowers, citrus, and melon, with a pleasant crunchy green flavor on the finish similar to celery or rhubarb. Of course, depending on the type of grape the rosé wine is made with will greatly vary the flavor. For example, a deeply-colored Italian Aglianico rosé–rosé is called “Rosato” in Italy,– will offer up cherry and orange zest flavors, and a pale-colored Grenache rosé from Provence in France will taste of honeydew melon, lemon and celery.
The wine region known for creating the most consistent rosés, no matter the price point, is Provence. The Provence wine region of France creates rosé more than any other style of wine, and they’ve become incredibly good at it. Due to the size of the region, quality rosés exist at all price points, so if you’re looking for a rosé and happen to be in a store or at a restaurant that you don’t trust, a safe bet is asking for a bottle from Provence.