Rosé—in all its perfectly pink shades of yummy nectar, has been dubbed the “not so serious” wine for quite some time. But don’t let its laid back, informal appearance fool you.
Not only is it the largest growing category in the wine industry, but surprising for some—it has been enjoyed for centuries.
Impatience, often associated with the habits of modern civilization, isn’t new either. Ancient Greeks of the 8th century BC did not enjoy waiting around for their wine—in fact, it was consumed rather hastily. White and red grapes were harvested together and pressed quickly to allow fermentation to begin. Rushing may be for fools, but the latter process created the brilliant, naturally light pink hue we love to this day.
In 6th century BC, pink-skinned grapes made their way from Greece to Marseille and it wasn’t long before Romans eventually caught wind of the “great pinks”. No sooner than they could say “vino”, the Romans landed in Provence and began trading them all throughout the Mediterranean.
Jump to the 19th century, French tourists began to flock to the beaches of Provence. There they would swim in the sea and bask under the sun with a chilled glass of rosé, thus giving birth to a glamorous symbol of summer and leisure. Yet it wasn’t until nearly 20 years ago that rosé became an absolute sensation. Requests for the dry aromatic styles of rosés from the South of France were widespread, along with this new obsession to emulate the southern French lifestyle.
This isn’t hype my friends. People loved it so much so, that in 2014, the Hamptons experienced a pink drought!
We could only wish making rosé were as easy as pie, but if your inner wine nerd is curious, there are two distinct methods: saignée or maceration. If you are making the wine saignée, during the first few hours of making a red wine, some of the juice is bled off and put into a new vat to make rosé. The purpose of bleeding off the juice not only produces a lovely rosé, but it also concentrates the red wine’s intensity. Only a little bit of wine is bled off and only a small amount of rosé is made.
If the rosé is being made using the maceration method, red wine grapes are treated like white, in that the grapes are picked right away and pressed. The skins don’t have a lot of time to add color (usually 2-20 hours), resulting in a wine that is a very light shade of pink. Red wine grapes are let to rest, or macerate, in the juice for a period of time and afterward the entire batch of juice is finished into a rosé wine.
What varieties make rosé? For starters, nearly every wine grape has been used to make rosé wine. The major players include Grenache, Cinsault, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir…just to name a few!
Rosé is now made in almost every region where wine is made. Famous regions include sun-drenched areas of Provence, Bandol, Tavel along with the Loire Valley sub-regions of Sancerre and Chinon. It is commonly described as having aromas or flavors of mint, grapefruit, strawberry, tart cherry, blood orange, tomato, red bell pepper and blackberry.
When it comes to food pairing, rosé is very versatile. For the light dry rosés, try raw and lightly cooked shellfish or grilled fish. Cheese lovers should pair with goat cheese for sure. You should also consider adding mildly spiced curries and rice dishes to the menu. Elegant, fruity rosés on the other hand, call for more sophisticated seafood, like lobster or seared duck. If you prefer a lighter, drier sparkling rosé, then feast on your favorite tapas. For brunch or dessert lovers, we suggest a sweeter sparkling rosé to be enjoyed with fruit tarts, sweet breads and muffins.
Thirsty for some rosé now? We thought so! Check out some of our most delicious rosé wines here!