To say rosé wine is heating up would be an understatement – the category is completely on fire. Rosé is not just for summer. For the fan of lighter wines, rosé can be more satisfying than white in winter.
Fifteen years ago if you offered someone a glass of rosé, they looked at you as if you were out of your mind. Ten years ago – in New York at least – people started to discover that rosé wine didn’t have to be sweet. It was still seen as a throw-away wine that you only drank in summer, possibly the warm-weather equivalent of Beaujolais Nouveau.
Five years (or so) ago the game changed; people finally saw pink wine for what it was. It was and is awesome. Good rosé is usually made with superior grapes in a technologically advanced facility by top-notch winemakers. Just like real wine… Now people are drinking rosé just like any other wine all year round.
The beauty of a good dry rosé is that it can pair with most any food. Rosé wine offers some of the best aspects of red and white wine in a fairly light, crisp way. It has the ripe berry flavors many of us look for in a red wine; it can also have light tannins and spicy and savory notes. You’ll find crisp acidity and “white” fruits such as citrus and apricot. While each is different – some are light, lower in alcohol and sprightly, others rich, spicy and full bodied – any should contain some of these varied characteristics. Just like all reds and whites are not the same, neither are all rosés.
You just have to figure out what you like. If you are more of a carnivor, you’ll obviously want a richer rosé. If you are more of a salad-and-fish person, the lighter styles will work for you. The real beauty of rosé is that the wines are among the best food-pairing wines on the planet.
You should also note that rosé is made all over the planet. No longer does it only come from France. Excellent dry rosé can come from California, Oregon, New York, Italy, Spain, South Africa and Greece, or anywhere else in the world where they make good wine.
So what makes wine pink?
As a rule, rosé wine is not made by mixing white and red wine. For the most part it is a baby red wine.
Almost all grapes – no matter what color on the outside – are fairly clear on the inside. Red grapes are generally not red through and through. In order to make red wine you have to mix the skin with the flesh long enough for the color, tannins and other scientific compounds (that shall remain nameless) to leach from the skin into the juice. This generally takes a week or two.
To make a wine pink, you do the same thing. You just do it for a shorter period of time – generally under 24 hours. The color and taste of the wine will differ depending on how much “skin contact” it has. Obviously, other factors such as grape variety, climate and other wine-making considerations are also involved in the equation.
As you can see, rosé wine can be made from any red grape – and it can be made dry, sweet and/or sparkling just like any other wine. It can also run from $10 – $100 per bottle.
Obviously, you have a lot of exploring to do. Thankfully, it’s early in the season.