Rose Wine: A Beginners Guide

Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Rose Wine: A Beginners Guide

Ah, rose wine. One of my per­sonal favourites for a casual bar­be­cue in the summer.

Rose wine is one of the eas­i­est wines to iden­tify. Instead of being a defin­i­tive red or white, rose wine looks pink or even slightly orange. Rose wine comes in all kinds of vari­eties, from still wine, to semi-sparkling, to a full sparkling wine. You can find it rang­ing from sweet– to dry-tasting, too.

Typ­i­cal flavours range from straw­berry to cherry to rasp­berry. And you might even taste a hint of water­melon. That’s why this kind of wine works so well in the sum­mer or dur­ing a barbecue.

If you think that rose wine is halfway between a white and a red, you’re right.

At least, you’re partly right. Blend­ing red and white is just one way to make rose wine.

And it’s not even the most com­mon way to do it.


How Rose Wine is Made

The most pop­u­lar way to make rose wine is to leave the grape skins in con­tact with the juice for a lit­tle while. The trick is to leave the skins in con­tact just long enough to get the per­fect colour.

Saignee works too. This is when a wine­maker bleeds off excess juice at an early stage of red wine fer­men­ta­tion. That excess juice (it’s pink!) is kept and made into a sep­a­rate fermentation.

A rose wine fermentation.

The last way is to blend red and white. This is most com­monly done with sparkling wines.


What Grapes are Used to Make Rose Wine?

Rose wine grapes make for a pretty long list:

  • Pinot Noir
  • Syrah
  • Grenache
  • Mer­lot
  • Mal­bec
  • Caber­net Sauvignon
  • Caber­net Franc
  • Gamay
  • Grol­leau
  • Tem­pranillo
  • San­giovese
  • and Zin­fan­del

Pre­mium rose wine from France comes from the Loire Val­ley in a region called Anjou-Saumer. Most of these wines are made with Caber­net Franc.

But, you can also get some nice rose wines from the south­ern Rhone Val­ley in France from the Grenache grape.

Don’t for­get Spain! Spain is famous for their rose wines. In fact, Ernest Hem­ing­way was a noted fan of Span­ish rose wine. If you’re in Spain (lucky you!) and want a rose wine, ask for Rosa­dos. This wine is made mostly from Tem­pranillo and Gar­nacha grapes.

Italy also makes Rosato, mean­ing blush. Made mainly from San­giovese grapes, Ital­ian rose wine comes mainly from the Abruzzo region.

Lastly, in Cal­i­for­nia and North Amer­ica, you’ll get rose wine made mainly from Zin­fan­del, Caber­net Sauvi­gnon, and/or Merlot.


How to Serve Rose Wine

If you have a still rose wine, not sparkling, serve it slightly chilled. Around 10 Cel­sius is best.

Sweet and sparkling rose wines should be served well-chilled. Aim for between 6 to 8 degrees Celcius.

Serve in a medium-size glass. You don’t want to lose fresh­ness and flavour.

But, sparkling rose wine should be served in a cham­pagne flute.


Rose Wine Food Pairing

  • Appe­tiz­ers
  • Salad
  • Surf and turf
  • Span­ish paella
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Pork

Bon appetite!

About Dave Keighron

Dave Keighron has writ­ten 63 posts in this blog.

One Comment

  1. 10-17-2012

    Rose wine is also very tasty and classy as well. This is best served with red or white meat and is pretty adjustable so to speak.

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