Regular readers at The
Kitchn will know that I am a committed rosé wine fan, and while I drink rosé
wine all year round, there is something about the arrival of spring and summer
that seems to herald in these pink and salmon toned wines.
year I say it and here I go again, rosé's popularity just keeps growing — if
the number and diversity of choices is anything to go by.
me, rosé is more than a simple pink wine. While certainly a symbol of summer
sipping, the diversity of styles makes rosé a versatile partner at the table, and as I have mentioned in two recent ‘Wine of the Week’ posts on Chêne Blue
and Clos Cibonne, not all rosé wine is created equally.
let is go back to basics and take a quick 101 tour on how rosé wine is made.
How Rosé Wine Is Made
rosé wines are made from black (or red) grapes, and traditionally the wine is
fermented dry. While different production methods exist, the most usual is
‘maceration,’ whereby the black grapes are gently crushed and the juice is left
in contact with the skins for short time to extract just enough color to
achieve the desired hue. The length of time depends on the grape variety used,
as well the wine style and winemaker’s preference.
the maceration is complete, the wine is fermented, like a white wine, off the
skins. The choice of fermentation vessel, as well as fermentation temperature, will also influence the resulting style of wine. Cooler ferments tend to
produce more fruit driven styles, while warmer fermentation temperatures give
more structure to the wine.
styles such as ‘Blush’ or Vin Gris are the palest in color, as they do not go
through any pre-fermentation maceration.
can range from the palest salmon hue to deep neon pink. Aromas and flavors span
the spectrum from strawberry, raspberry, red currants, watermelon and
fresh cherry interwoven with all sorts of citrus notes, dried herbs, spice, and
Off-Dry and Sweeter Styles of Rosé
or sweeter styles such as White Zin', etc. are usually fermented dry and then some sweetening
concentrate is added back in, or the fermentation is stopped before all the sugar
has been converted into alcohol.
Rosé from White Grapes - Pinot Grigio Rosé
may be surprised to hear that you can make a Pinot Grigio rosé. Though Pinot
Grigio is a white wine grape, its skin is actually a grayish pink.
With a little persuasion (a.k.a maceration), it can be persuaded to release
enough color to qualify as rosé.
Rosé by Adding Red Wine - Rosé Champagne
other more unusual method of rosé wine making is Champagne. Under EU wine law
Rosé Champagne is the only wine that can be made rosé by the addition of red
wine to the blend. The red wine must come from the Champagne region — where the
official designation for still red wine is Coteaux Champenois. While this is
how rosé Champagne has traditionally been made, not all rosé Champagne is made
by the addition of red wine. Some producers prefer the maceration method as
Can Rosé Wines Age?
simple rosé wines are best enjoyed within a year or two of their release. While
many can hold up well for a few years, most do not improve with extended bottle
age. Of course there are exceptions like Rioja’s Lopez de Heredia (the current
vintage of its "Viña Tondonia" Gran Reserva Rosado is 2000) as well
as the wines from Provencal producers such as Clos Cibonne and Chêne Bleu. And
don’t forget Rosé Champagne, the greatest of which can age for decades.
Choosing Amid the Vast Selection of Rosé Wine
how do you know which wine you will like best? Sometimes the back label will
tell you whether it is a dry or off-dry style, but often not. Experimentation
is one way to find the rosé that works best for you. Alternatively here are a
few guidelines that hopefully will help you navigate your way through the
selection on offer.
Rosé Wine Buying Tips:
general look for the current vintage,
which this year will be the wines of 2012.
Although, I did taste a number of 2011’s and even some 2010’s that had retained
a lot of freshness and bright fruit.
most rosé wines do not indicate whether dry or off-dry, it is worth remembering
that in general, old world producing
countries will be dry. For the New World, ask the sales assistant, if
the back label information does not help. Another tip is to look at the alcohol
level. If below 11 or 12% the chances are it might be off-dry.
- Ask about the grape variety. Traditionally in the south of France rosé wines are
blends from different grape varieties such as Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and
Syrah. Today we see more and more varietal rosé, made from Syrah, Pinot Noir,
Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec to name but a few.
- Experiment – Rosé wines are keenly priced. Most run from under $10 to
about $20. Try different ones for sipping, or with your favorite foods.
Mary Rosé Picks for Summer 2013
are simply too many great rosé wines available to include reviews for all I have
tasted in this post. This is just a sampling to whet your appetite if you have not
already caught the rosé bug! I would love for readers to add to my list by
sharing their favorite or go-to rosé this summer.
• 2012 Bieler Père et Fils ‘Sabine’, Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix en
Provence, France $11 – A superb value rosé wine, from vanguard 'hipster' winemaker Charles Bieler (of
Three Thieves and Charles & Charles wine fame). It is a blend of
predominantly Syrah with Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault in the mix.
A perfect summer sipper for the lazy afternoon in the garden or on the deck, as
well as for picnics and leisurely lunches. Pale salmon in color, this
wine is packed with delicate but persistent lively flavors – a cocktail of red
berries laced with notes of citrus, dried Provençal herbs and savory spice.
• 2012 Muri Gries Lagrein Rosato, Alto
Adige, Italy, $16.99 – Pale cherry in color, I especially love the wild berry,
spicy and savory mineral aromas in this wine. It is made from the
local Lagrein red grape. Crisp, refreshing and packed with tangy
vibrant flavors. Perfect for lighter
summer fare, it is especially great with air-dried or cured meats (think speck), salads and grilled fish.
• 2012 Torre De Beati - Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Cerasuolo
Rosé, Abruzzo, Italy, $16.99 – I love so much about this wine, the bright, almost neon, cherry color
that pops, the hand drawn label and of course the deliciousness of the wine. It
is made from the red Montepulciano grape.
Wonderfully dry and minerally, it is brimming with tasty cherry and strawberry
fruit flavors. This is quite a full-bodied rosé to enjoy over dinner.
• 2012 Ktima Kir Yianni Akakies Rosé,
Amyndeo, Macedonia, Greece, $14.95 – I have a strong fondness for all Greek wine, and
this delightful rosé made from the Xinomavro grape does not disappoint. Quite a
vivid pink color, it offers a delicious combination of lively red and black
forest fruit flavors interwoven with a distinct savory minerality and herbal,
balsamic tang. Wonderful to pair with lamb chops, roast chicken or even a
• 2012 Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris, Corbières,
France, $14.99 – A blend
of mainly Grenache (70%) with 10% of each Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault,
this wine has a delicate pale salmon color. Quite an elegant nose: minerally
with delicate notes of wild strawberry, watermelon,
cherry and a distinct ‘garrigue’ / wild dried herb note. Delicious, very
refreshing with crisp acidity and restrained but persistent flavors that fill
the mouth. Spicy tang with a subtle creaminess mid-palate and a long finish.
Pair with a host of summer salads, grilled vegetables and seafood dishes.
• 2012 Nigl, Zweigelt Rosé, Kremstal,
Austria, $17.99 – I am a big fan of Austria’s Zweigelt red wines. It is great to
see more of their rosé wines hitting the U.S. market. Deep salmon color. Aromas and
flavors are a veritable tangy cocktail of berries — strawberry, raspberry,
cranberry, redcurrant — laced with citrus. It has delicious refreshing
zesty tartness that is well balanced by the exuberance of the fruit, and savory
kick on the finish.
• 2012 Bedrock Ode to Lulu Rose, California, $24.99 – I bought this rosé wine recently.
It was my first time to the wine, made by renowned Zin-head and
maverick California wine maker, Morgan Twain Peterson. The wine is
predominantly made from gnarly old vine Mourvèdre with a splash of old vine
Carignan (Morgan, like his famous dad Joel Peterson, is major old vine
fanatic). The wine successfully combines richness and fullness with lightness
and brightness. Bright raspberry, wild strawberry and cherry fruit interwoven
with savory spice, hints of pepper and dried herbs. This rosé is definitely one
to savor with grilled meats.
• 2012 Shinn Estate Rosé, North Fork
of Long Island, New York, $13.99 – Deeply bronze-copper in color, this wine
is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The nose is fairly ripe and intense,
showing jammy strawberry and raspberry aromas with an overlay of creamy toffee.
A firm spine of crisp acidity on the palate anchors the wine, which is rich and
full-bodied. Packed with juicy, ripe flavors, it is a fairly bold, powerful
style. One to enjoy at your next barbecue – it will pair really well
with spare ribs or a juicy grilled cheeseburger.
• 2012 Bonny Doon, Vin Gris de Cigare,
California, $15.99 – I buy Vin Gris de Cigare every year. It is a great staple /
house wine to have on hand. It is pale salmon in color with coppery glints.
Aromas and flavors are vibrant – cherry-berry with a nice juiciness and citrus
tang. Attractive nuances of dried herbs and spice add dimension. This wine is a
really great summer sipper on its own or pair it with salads and grilled
• 2012 Domaine Saladin Tralala Rosé, Côtes du Rhône,
France, $19.99 — Pale salmon color, this Rhône Valley rosé is a blend of old vine Grenache and
Cinsault. Tangy nose of ruby grapefruit and tangerine mingling with a cocktail
of red berry fruit – cranberry, watermelon and raspberry. Crisp with a zesty
kick, flavors mirror the nose. A very lively, lighter bodied style to enjoy as
a supper sipper or serve with grilled white fish such as flounder or sea
bass. It would also work well with tarragon roast chicken.
Until next week, enjoy something pink!