Ahh, summer. If you look back and recap what you drank all season long, rosé might be the answer. Many people love this wine for its easy drinkability, delicious soft berry flavors and beautiful pink hue. But what is a rosé wine?
Rosé wine is made in a couple of ways. The most common way to make a rosé is to essentially make a lighter version of a red wine, which entails removing the grape skins normally a day or two earlier than you would when making a red wine. The other main way to make a rosé is as a byproduct of red wine production, removing the pink juice from the musk to increase the tannins and overall complexity of the red wine. The last way rosé is made is to blend red and white wine to create a pink colored wine, however, this method tends to be the least popular. In France, where most of the world’s rose comes from, this is actually illegal everywhere but Champagne, where the bubbly wine of the same name is produced, and even then some of the Champagne houses don’t use this method.
Rosé wines come in all types of forms from the slightly sweet and very fruity White Zinfandel variety to the bone dry and mineral Provence style of wine. These styles can be found in a bubbly format as well but most rosé bubbly wines will be closer to a Champagne style in production and flavor profile.
Is it sweet?
Most of the styles of rosé are not sweet. However, due to a famous American style, white zinfandel, many people think that this is the definitive version of rosé. White zinfandel is a good introduction to wine as it is slightly sweet and has fruity notes, making it not too far from a soda in appeal. There are also rosé moscato wines on the market that are much sweeter than their White Zinfandel inspired counterparts, so be prepared for huge dose of sugar when trying these wines.
The sweet wines differ greatly from the drier counterparts in terms of sugar content but a lot of people will try a rosé or any other wine and mistake fruity flavors for sweetness. Rarely is there going to be a rosé that is actually sweet but you will find many that highlight the fruit flavors and are full of robust strawberry, cherry and raspberry notes. In general, a darker colored rosé will be more fruit forward than a lighter colored rosé, which is important to keep in mind while shopping.
What wines should I try?
As you browse supermarkets and wine shop selections, it can be easy to get lost in a section full of different types of rosé. Swig has a handy checklist separated by different styles of rosé to make your shopping experience much easier.
As mentioned earlier, white zinfandel is the king of the sweet American rosé market. The big names to look out for are going to be Beringer, Sutter Home and Barefoot Cellars. These are also some of the biggest wine producers in the country so they are easy to find wherever you go. We recommend drinking these sweet styles as a Sunday afternoon sipper, just let the subtle sweetness and tart fruit take you to paradise. All of these big producers also produce a pink moscato as well so you can look for their names on these bottles of sweet, fruity goodness.
As mentioned earlier, France produces the most rosé in the world. Most of the French rosé is dry but they range from fruity to bone dry and minerally. Stick with the wines from Provence as these French rosé wines tend to be high quality, very dry wines. My favorites are Whispering Angel Rose from Caves d’Esclans, a dry rosé with crisp minerality and delicious soft strawberry notes, as well as Chateau Miraval Rosé, which is made on an estate owned by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.
For the American dry rosés, a big name out of Washington State is Charles and Charles, who makes a dry rosé with delicious red berry fruit and a nice bit of mouth-watering acidity making it a great pairing for all those late summer barbecues. Another great buy is Underwood Rosé by Union Wine Company, which comes in a can and is excellent for picnics or any outdoor event.
Obviously, if we could drink Champagne every day, we would. It’s crisp, light and refreshing and can be paired with everything. But for many of us, a bottle of Dom Perignon Rosé, which can cost around $300 is cost prohibitive. Luckily, there are affordable options like Chandon Rosé produced by Moet & Chandon’s American start up, Chandon. It’s a dry and bubbly rosé, and at a price of under 20 bucks, this wine is a great value for its high quality.
While many people consider summer the only time to drink rosé type wines, I’m here to let you know that you can drink it all year round. Pour some beautiful pink wine into your glasses and toast in the fall season ahead. Believe me, it’s still delicious and refreshing even when it’s a bit cooler outside.
Top image from www.telegraph.co.uk