Rosé is not a variety of wine, but rather a style of wine. So what is a rosé style wine it and how is it made? Rosé is produced from red grape varieties and made in the same way as red wine, but with less grape skin contact. Rosé can be made in various ways, including blending red and white wines together or by a method known as saignée – where lighter wine is bled from the top of red wine vats. The most common method, however, is for red grapes, of single or multiple varieties, to be pressed and for the skins to macerate for only a few hours, rather than days, like red wine.
In terms of taste, rosé is fresh and light on the palette and offers fruit flavours, predominantly strawberry, peach and watermelon, sometimes with extra herb and citrus tones. Rosés can be sweet or dry depending on a winemaker’s choice so read the label carefully, or even better, taste the wine at a cellar door so that you know what you are buying. In the past, rosé was frequently sweet, however there has been a huge rise in popularity over recent years towards drier styles of rosé, a solid trend that looks set to continue. Most rosé is made to be consumed within the first few years of bottling, as there are not enough tannins to make long term cellaring feasible, however some rosé is barrel aged before bottling. An aged rosé will be more copper in colour than one that is bottled soon after pressing. A paler pink rosé has had less contact with the skin and is likely to be more refined and elegant in flavour, whereas a darker pink rosé will be more robust and have more complexity. Whatever the depth or range of colour, these pink wines are ready for drinking as soon as they are released, so select the most recent vintage you can find and you’ll be off to a good start.
So why choose rosé? Well, for a start, it’s a great table wine, because it pairs well with a lot of different foods, so it’s perfect for sharing with a variety of dishes. Rosé matches well with fish, vegetables, poultry and pork and is perfect to enjoy with barbecued foods and even spicy food that pairs well with a slightly sweeter rosé. Serve it chilled as the perfect choice for entertaining and parties in spring and summer. For those who love their reds it’s easy to choose rosé over a full-bodied, room temperature red wine on a hot summer’s day.
Rosé is a great choice for people who are discovering wine because it’s fruity and approachable. It’s also a perfect quaffing wine for serious wine lovers who like to know they are drinking wine at its prime. If you’re not convinced yet, like maybe you’re a man who reckons pink drinks are passé, or just for women, try to think outside the pink and give it a go sometime. Pink drinks are fun, fresh and flirty. What’s not to love about a ready to rock and roll, rosé? P.S – Currently, guests of Margaret River Tours’ are able to taste some fabulous rosés at Voyager and McHenry Hohnen when they join us on tour.