Wine can be a confusing subject even for seasoned drinkers. With the abundance of grape varietals, styles, and regions, it can feel impossible to understand just what makes a glass of vino special. One type in particular that has historically caused a bit of confusion is Rose. What is Rose wine? How is it made? Is it even real wine? Read on to find out all there is to know about Rose wines, from tasting notes to production methods.
At its most basic, Rose wine is a type of wine which is lightly pink in hue but unlike a white or a red, it isn’t made from grapes of any one predominant color. Instead, Rose wines sometimes consist of a blend of red and white grape varieties. The end result can range anywhere from a brilliant salmon pink to a dark rich pink.
Rose wines are versatile and can be enjoyed as an aperitif or paired alongside a wide variety of food. There are various styles that span from light and tangy to full-bodied and spicy. Rose wears its complexity on its sleeve, offering an array of flavors from stone fruits and herbs to delicate florals and ripe cherry tones. The most popular styles are dry or off-dry, which means that the wine itself is not overly sweet.
The process of making Rose wines is quite complex, though the exact methods used can vary dramatically depending on the region and producer. Generally speaking, first the grapes are harvested, then they’re either cold soaked or lightly crushed, a process known as maceration. After maceration, the juice is allowed to sit with the skins briefly, which gives the wine its distinctive hue. As soon as the desired hue is attained, the juice is separated from the skins. This is not the same as red winemaking where the juice is left to ferment on the skins, resulting in much darker hues.
Typically Rose wines are made from red grapes varieties like Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. However, in some parts of the world, Rose wines are made from white varieties such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc. This second technique is less common, but can result in very interesting and complex Rose wines.
The final step in the Rose-making process is fermentation and aging. During fermentation, the sugar in the grapes converts to alcohol, developing the body and complexity of the wine. Once finished, it is then aged in stainless steel tanks or casks depending on the desired end product. The aging process can range from a few months to upwards of a year.
Rose wines have been popular since the 19th century, when they were referred to by the French as “vin gris.” However, in more recent years the style has seen a renewed interest, particularly as drinkers seek out lighter, more refreshing alternatives in the summer months. Today Rose wines can be found in all kinds of producers, ranging from small boutique wineries to large international companies.
No matter where it comes from, Rose is a great go-to for both casual drinkers and wine connoisseurs alike. Not only does its beautiful color make for a delightful sight, but the array of flavor and body options make it a perfect accompaniment for a variety of meals. Keep an eye out for Rose if you want a unique and enjoyable wine experience!