Quick TipUnlike red wines, rosé wines do not improve with age. So, do not hoard them in the cellar for more than two to three years.
It is more than a drink, it is a gastronomic delight, a lifestyle, and a survey into history. With so many different types of wines out there, a wine novice is bound to get confused. Just when you thought you had discerned and understood red wines, white wines, and sparkling wines, you suddenly come across a light pink wine, and you are left flummoxed.
Whether it is known as rosado (Spain), rosato (Italy) or blush wine, pink wines or rosé wines, as they are popularly known, are made of red grape varietals. Some of the popular varietals used in making red wine and rosé wine include Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Some sparkling rosé wines are made using red and white grape wine varietals. So, why do they not have the typical red hue of red wine? This is because of the maceration method where the grape juice is left in contact with the skins just long enough to give it a slight color. Unlike red wine, where the maceration lasts throughout the fermentation process, rosé wines are made when the juice is separated from the skin just before it gets too dark. The result can range from a pale pink to a deeper coral shade. This usually takes around two to three days, and in case of lighter colored rosé wines, such as Grenache, the maceration process lasts no more than 24 hours.
Dry Rosé Wine
Like their color, the types of rosé wines vary greatly. Unlike the sweet flavor of new-world rosé wines, particularly the sugary White Zinfandel, the old-world rosé wines, such as Tavel, are often bone dry. Here are some types of dry rosé wines based on their style and grape type.
Pinot Noir Rosé
Pinot Noir is a red grape varietal that produces some of the most popular red wines in the world. It also makes excellent rosé wines which are pale, fragrant, and vivacious. The subtle aroma and savory finish make it a versatile and food-friendly wine. This rosé petal pink wine has soft to medium texture, earthy flavors that include strawberry, stone fruit and mint, and extremely low spice content.
It has a firm acidity with a wonderful dryness which makes it excellent for savory seafood and braised spicy lamb or chicken. It can also be served with mushroom pasta, and sun-dried tomatoes that have been tossed with garlic and pepper. Great with an afternoon barbecue.
The first thing that hits you when you open a bottle of this pale salmon-colored rosé wine is its intense aroma, which is like a freshly squeezed fruit punch with a mix of ripe strawberries, cherry, raspberries, and pomegranate aromas. It also has a light floral hint. Although its perceptibly sweet due to the fruity, floral notes, this wine is dry and has a bright acidity.
It pairs well with seafood, mixed salads, grilled meats, and a variety of Mediterranean dishes.
The French wine region of Tavel, on the sloping bank of Rhone, is known for its famous rosé wines. In fact, Tavel wines are only available in rosé variety. The rosé wines of this region are also known as the ''The King of Rosés''. From light salmon to ruby pink, there are a variety of rosé wines with complex aromas of summer fruits and a full, rounded mouth with hints of spice. The wines in this region are made from Grenache, Syrah, and Clairette varieties.
It can be served as an aperitif or with seafood pasta, cold fish starters, herb sausages, and a variety of cheese.
The Sangiovese rosé wines have a delightful rosy hue and a delightful blend of candied apple, watermelon, strawberry flavors, and aromatics. Some of the variants have a light hint of musk as well. The berry notes are often balanced with a wonderful lingering acidity.
Although it is amazing on its own and as an antipasto entree, you can also try pairing it with fish stew or spaghetti marinara. A nice piece of Atlantic salmon or ocean trout can also serve as great food pairing for this wine.
Spanish in origin, the Mourvèdre varietal produces some delicious rosé wines. It has a salmon or light peach color with red fruit and floral notes. It has wonderful flavors of cherry, pomegranate, and plum, which is balanced with a hint of sweet anise.
This delicious rosé wine can be paired with a number of foods, including spicy Asian and Mexican food.
Cabernet Franc Rosé
With a magnificent soft pink color, this wine has the lifted aromas of bright cherries and strawberries. The flavors of strawberries and citrus on the palate are well-balanced with the natural acidity of the wine made from Cabernet franc grapes. It has a nice, mouth-watering zingy finish.
This aromatic and brightly refreshing wine can be paired with a multitude of foods or enjoyed on its own. You can try it with a nice charcuterie plate with medium to strong cheese as well.
Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
Crisp and refreshing, this delightful summertime wine with a bright rosy color, has the aromas of ripe blood oranges, cherry-drops, and juicy strawberries. It has a sweet savory finish owing to the cool fermentation with aromatic yeasts that tend to heighten the vibrant, zesty aromas and fresh mineral palate.
Pairs well with seafood such as seared tuna steaks and poached salmon. It can also be served with many Asian dishes such as sushi and other Japanese delights. It can also be matched with veggies, including artichokes and asparagus, or something as simple as a ham sandwich.
Combining the delectable aromas of ripe cherry, strawberry, guava, and watermelon, this rosé wine is well-balanced and boasts of a pleasant dry finish and lightness. It also has delicate floral notes of rosé and grapefruit. The wine is juicy and has a hint of sweetness. It is silky smooth with a mouth-watering succulence.
Perfect with grilled meats, or as an accompaniment to charcuterie. This wine also provides a good match to the spicy Thai dishes.
Sweet/Semi-sweet Rosé Wine
Also known as White Zin, this pink-colored wine is sweet, soft, and often low in alcohol. It is this sweet taste and low alcohol content that has made this drink so popular, so much so that wine novices often assume that this is how rosé wines generally taste. This wine was first made in California by Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home Winery from Zinfandel grapes. Due to "stuck fermentation" in 1975, there was greater residual sugar left behind in the wine, which resulted in the sweet flavor. It has refreshing, sweet, and fruity flavors of southern peach, strawberries, pineapples, and succulent pears.
It pairs well with seafood and smoky, glazed ham.
This rosé wine provides all the flavors of Merlot grape, including blueberries, ripe plums, and hints of cranberries. This is a lighter, friskier wine with a crisp finish. If you are looking for an alternative to White Zin, then this rosé pink, fruity wine with a smooth finish is definitely for you.
Pair White Merlot with barbecue, seafood, and spicy Asian and Mexican food for a little extra kick to it.
This sweet rosé wine has the aromas of sweet jasmine and orange with subtle, sweet flavors of pomegranate, peach, apricot, Meyer lemon, orange, raspberry, and cherry. Some have the delicate aromas of honeysuckle, vanilla bean, or caramel as well.
This sweet wine pairs well with Spicy Chinese and Thai food along with lighter meats and flaky fish.
Unlike the common misconception, rosé wines are not sweet. In fact a majority of the good-quality rosé wines produced in France and other parts of the world are the dry variants. So, if you are a wine snob, and dismiss it as a 'girlie drink', then think again. Try the variety of rosé wines that are dry and acidic, and you will be pleasantly surprised. The best part about rosé wines is that these versatile wines pair well with different types of food. So, whether you want to have chicken, fish, veggies, grilled steak, or loads of chocolate chip cookies, rosé wines are the perfect choice for you. They are the perfect barbecue wine, beach wine, picnic wine, and summer wine. Sounds perfect doesn't it?