Neither white nor red, Rosé wine occupies a special place in the hearts and palates of wine drinkers.
If you’re new to Rosé wine, you may be wondering exactly how this fascinating wine is made, what sets it apart from both white and red wine, and what food to enjoy it with.
We’ll cover the basics behind Rosé wine in this comprehensive guide and so much more.
What Is Rosé Wine?
The pink color and interesting flavor of good Rosé wine lead many first-time drinkers to believe that it’s simply a blend of red and white wine. Let’s set the record straight: Rosé is a unique wine in its own right and is made using a specialized method that produces its blushing color and mild flavors.
Rosé wine is made from red wine grapes, but it spends less time in contact with the skins which prevents it from becoming full-blown red wine. After a special pressing and fermentation process, the wine emerges with its delicate flavor and color that makes it perfect for easy drinking.
We’ll discuss the process in which Rosé is made in more detail below but first, let’s learn more about the types of rose wine, their different flavors, and the best foods to pair them with.
Rosé Flavor Profiles and Pairings
Rosé wine can be divided into four broad flavor categories – and each of them goes very well with certain food pairings. Next time you serve Rosé with a meal, you’ll want to keep the following in mind.
The drier light Rosés, including Pinot Noir and Provencal Rosés, go well with seafood, salads, pasta dishes and most summer meals. Off-dry varieties like Portuguese Rosé can also be paired with slightly spicy meals very successfully.
Light, Medium, Floral Rosé
Zinfandel, be it natural or Rose Champagne, and some southern French and Spanish Rosé fall into this broad category. While lighter floral Rosé is great as a dessert wine or served with delicate cheeses, the fuller-bodied variety can be served with spicy meals too.
Medium, Full and Round Rosé
We’re now heading into the more robust territory, with weightier Rosés like Spanish Navarro and Bordeaux Rosé which is often made from the Merlot grape. The extra weight and intensity of flavor that these wines bring to the palate make them ideal for pairing with more intense flavors including anchovy, garlic, and even slightly acidic dishes containing tomatoes and citrus.
Full, Rich and Savory Rosé
Our final category of Rosé wines could also be called “red wines without the tannins”. Cabernet Rosé, including the delicious California variety, certainly falls into this category, as do some delicious, full-bodied Syrah Rosés. The full, red flavor of these wines makes them well suited to some of the dishes you’d usually pair with other red wines: grilled meat, curries, and other warm summer dishes. Like almost all other Rosés, they are best served chilled.
How Rosé Is Made
Much of the unique properties that set Rosé apart from other wines are a byproduct of its winemaking process. Here’s a look at the unique process that goes into every glass of blush from grape to glass.
This is where it all begins. Red grapes are crushed and their skins are left to soak in the resulting juice. After a few days, once the pink color and delicate flavor of Rosé has seeped out of the skins, the skins are removed and the wine is fermented. This produces light, crisp Rosé with a fruitier palate. Some of the best rose wine is produced using this method.
An alternative method of making Rosé involves draining off some of the liquid from a vat used to make red wine. This allows the remaining red to become more concentrated while the Rosé is fermented separately. Rosé wines produced using this method are more full-bodied and closer to red wines in flavor.
Vin Gris is a French term that literally means “grey wine” – but the resulting drink is anything but dull. This type of Rosé is made from red grapes using white winemaking methods. The grapes are crushed and the skins removed right away, but since they are red grapes the resulting juice is left with a pink hue and slightly fruity flavor.
Finally, there is an unusual method of making Rosé from red wine using activated charcoal known as decolorizing. Red rosé wine made using this method has a lighter color than the original red wine used to make them, but they tend to taste just like red wines. For Rosé connoisseurs, this can reduce the enjoyment of drinking these wines.
Old vs New
There are two main regional categories of Rosé: old world and new world. The age and growing region affiliated with these wines gives each type a distinctive taste.
Old world Rosé is usually grown in Europe, on vines that can be centuries old. Good Rose wine produced from these vines tends to be more acidic and richer in flavor.
New world wine is grown in countries like the United States, Australia, Chile and Argentina. The vines tend to be younger and produce light, fruity, easy drinking Rosés.
Top 5 Heavenly Styles of Rosé Wine
Pinot Noir Rosé
Challenging to grow and rewarding to drink, Pinot Noir Rosé is full of fruity flavors like melon and strawberry without being overly sweet – or sometimes not sweet at all. It’s a great wine to enjoy with cheese and salads.
This dark and spicy Rosé is like chocolate cherry without the sweetness. As a dry Rose wine, it pairs well with garlic-rich foods, pizza, and pasta.
A Spanish Rosé with a light and fruity palate, Tempranillo Rosé is easy drinking and a must for summer dining. It pairs very well with salads, chicken dishes and mild cheeses.
Grown in one of France’s premier wine regions, Provence Rosé is some of the best Rose wines and never disappoints. Its subtle flavor makes it ideal to pair with almost any dish, offering unmatched versatility.
A full-bodied Rosé that has a flavor profile similar to some red wines, Tavel is a perfect partner for meat dishes, grilled chicken or barbecue.
Top 3 Rosé Wine Clubs
Vinebox offers a selection of some of the world’s finest wines, delivered by the glass. While it’s not a Rose wine club as such, its selection frequently includes some excellent vials of blush. Quarterly subscriptions start from $79.
Naked Wines is a British startup that funds independent wine producers and gives you access to their wines at wholesale prices. Their selection of Rosé is excellent, and you’ll find it well represented in almost every mixed wine gift box they offer.
Winc.com is known for taking the hassle out of buying wine with great wine deals and flexible orders – from a single bottle to a large case. Rosé wines are always a popular choice on their website, with American, European and South American wineries represented.
Rose wine combines the crispness and easy-drinking quality of white wine with the complex flavors and full body of a red – what more could you ask for? With a variety of palates ranging from fruity to earthy and dry to sweet, there are enough top Rosé wines to please everyone.
Now that you know the main types of Rose wine and how to pair them with your favorite dishes, you’re probably keen to order some bottles for yourself or for a friend or loved one. The clubs featured in our wine club reviews are a great place to start exploring the possibilities.
Accordingly, here’s to the times you’ll spend with friends and family enjoying a delicious bottle of Rosé. Cheers!