A guide to understand rosé wines

access_time 2020 · 06 · 11

Who has not felt attracted by the beautiful pink shade of a chilled glass of wine and feeling like drinking it on a summer’s day sunset. Although rosé wines are commonly associated to a warm weather and dining al fresco, their versatility and high level of drinkability invite us to uncork them on countless occasions. Actually these are not wines to age. Rosé is produced specifically for its fresh fruity taste and were made to drink as soon as possible. Here’s, all what you need to know to enjoy them.

Pink wines are not a trend. In fact, the first vineyards planted in the famous Provence area -the oldest wine region in France and were most of the French rosé come from- were made by the Greek’s more than 2.600 years ago. By then, it is believed that the real colour of red wines was…pink.

Why pink?

In simple words we could say that pink wines are some sort of white wines made with red grapes. Let’s remember: the pigments that give the colour to wines are in the grape’s skin. The fresh crushed grapes juice is transparent, but when they are left to soak with their skins for a short period of time, it turns to a subtle pink colour. The longer time the wine spends in contact with their skins, the darker will be the shade of pink. And the less time spends, the lighter the colour. So this is how the winemaker will decide the desired colour, that can range from pale peach or onion skin to a brighter palette similar to a cherry or raspberry colour.

Grape varieties and aromas

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Even though rosé wines could be made by one grape only (as syrah in Casillero del Diablo Rosé), blends are very common too. Cinsalut, grenache, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, mouvèdre, carignan and pinot noir are just a few of the varieties that can be used. Depending on the varieties of grapes the rosé is made, there will vary the flavour. Generally speaking, rosé wines are known for their similarity to some light body reds but with a crunchier and fresher palate. While in the nose, the aromas go from strawberries, cherries and raspberries to citrics, melon, celery and some floral hint. Everything will depend on the way the rosé was made.

Rosé styles 

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When the grape juices are left in contact with their skins, we are talking about the Maceration method. This is the most common type of rosé and the way they do wines in Provence. Once the wine reaches the perfect colour -in general no longer than 20 hours of skin contact-, the skins are discarded so the full batch of juice finishes the fermentation in the same way as a white wine does. The profile of this type of rosé is their dry with vibrant acidity, bright fruit flavours and a peachy colour. Like what happens with the delicious Concha y Toro Rosé and Marqués de Casa Concha Rosé. Elegant and versatile, both wines are blends with a significant presence of cinsault from the Itata Valley, what gives them a unique character with a lot of fresh fruit and a soft texture.

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Another production method is called Saignèe, from the French “to bleed” and usually is a byproduct of bold red wines. After the grapes are picked to make red wines and then crushed some of the juice is bled off and put in a new container to finish the fermentation and end up as a rosé wine. Under this method, the colour and taste of these wines are more intense with a high concentration of fruit and a deeper structure in the palate.

There is a less common technique that blends red and white grapes to make a pink wine. It specifically happens when a little bit of red wine is added to dye a white wine with a pink shade. This technique is used a lot in the Champagne area where they blend pinot noir with chardonnay to make sparkling rosé. Although the Blending Method is also used in other areas with less rules as the New World. 

The right temperature

The ideal temperature to drink rosé wines is between 10 and 15 C degrees. To achieve this, just place the bottle in the fridge for a few hours or leave it in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving it. For those that like to add some ice cubes to wine, it’s not recommended as they will melt, changing the flavours and the aromas. 

The best food pairing

Their versatile styles are well shown when it’s time for food because they match incredibly well with almost everything! For being fresh and light, they work very well with Asian dishes as sushi or Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce. Thanks to their fruit they pair perfectly with spicy dishes as Thai green curry, but also their cold freshness makes a perfect combo with white meats grilled on a barbeque. Of course a traditional aperitive with cheese and meat would never go wrong with a rosé. 

Have you thought how are you going to serve your next glass of rosé?

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