What is Rosé WineRosé wine is to summer, picnics, and barbecues what turkey and pumpkin pies are to Thanksgiving. So many people love it, although wine snobs have been known to dismiss rosé as somehow not worthy of sophisticated palates. The truth is, really bad rosés do take up shelf space out there, but really good ones do, too. Let’s look at exactly what rosé is and what it’s not. I bet by the end of this blog, you’ll be ready to get your rosé on.

Is it Red? Is it White? A mixture of both?

Rosé, as many people have come to believe, is not a mixture of red and white wine. Nor are we in painting class mixing red and white to get pink. Wine does not work that way. In fact, the juice in grapes runs clear, whether the grapes are red, black, or green. A process called maceration actually gives wine its color.

Wine makers let the skins of the grapes and the juice soak together. Over time, the color from the skin bleeds into the juice, giving wine either its red or golden color. The longer the grapes soak with the skins, the darker the wine color. To create rosé, winemakers keep the soaking time very short; only one or two days. Once the wine reaches the color desired, winemakers remove the skin and allow what remains to ferment.

Because what color a rosé becomes really depends on what the winemaker prefers, you will find a range of rosés. Pinot Noir tends to have one of the softest pink colors, while Malbec would rank as one of the darkest rosés.

What is in rosé?

If we really want to get technical, rosé is its own genre of wine, such as red or white. The name does not refer to a specific region or grape. Winemakers create rosés from blends of several varieties of grapes. European rosé producers most commonly use Grenache, Sangiovese, Mourvedre, Carignan, Cinsault, and Pinot Noir. European or Old-World rosé tend to be drier, while California, or New World rosés, are usually less dry.

Where does rosé come from?

France is one of the biggest producers of rosé wine. Sales of the pink stuff have actually outpaced the sale of white wine. The Provence wine region creates more rosé than any other style of wine. It comes as no surprise, then, that Provence rosés have a reputation for being the most consistent quality, though many places in the world are now producing very good rosé.

Here are the top four rosé producers:

  1. France
  2. Spain (rosado)
  3. Italy (rosato)
  4. United States

What pairs with rosé?

Rosé is popular for a reason. It represents a happy medium between the extremes of red and white and because so many varieties of grapes are used to produce rosé, it is easy to find one that pairs with whatever you are eating. This is why rosé is usually the first invite to dinners with fish, chicken, or grilled steak or why picnic goers grab the rosé before the bug spray. You can find a rosé that will complement almost anything on the menu, including chocolate chip cookies. Got milk? Who cares, if you have the right rosé.

What should I pay for rosé?

When you do buy rosé, buy it with the intention of drinking it soon. Unlike some reds which have matured for a long time, rosé does not get better with age. Buy it, chill it and drink it. You don’t want to drink a rosé dated more than two or three years back, though the reality is, you would have a difficult time finding such a bottle anyway. Rosé’s comparative youth often translates into a bargain for wine drinkers. Even imported French rosés cost less than most French imports.

Why do people hate on rosé?

Another reason rosé is relatively cheap is because of wine snobbery. Rosé is the Rodney Dangerfield of wine, standing and shouting, “I can’t get no respect!” Blame it on Zinfandel. Long ago, when disco balls were just being hoisted into dance clubs everywhere, California was mass producing a sugary confection called Zinfandel. This light blush rosé helped taint rosé’s reputation. But if the last time you sampled rosé you were doing the Hustle, moth ball the leisure suit and try it again. If you have questions about rosé or just figuring the best wine to pair with whatever you have cooking, please feel free to contact us at Selectwine.com. Cheers!