It’s that time of year; sun is shining, burgers are burning, and Brits are overpaying for average celebrity endorsed rosé at fancy beach clubs.
But this wasn’t the case 20 years ago when rosé wine was sweet and fizzy and not the pale, dry style that is now so popular. The success of Whispering Angel being imported into the US and celebrities like Brad and Angelina and Kylie have only heightened the demand for rosé wine.
A word of advice, there is a lot of good value for money rosé that simply isn’t as well marketed…
So how is it made?
No, it’s not a mix of red and white wine…well actually, on very rare occasions producers will add a smidgen of red wine to a vat of white wine to make rosé, a very fine example of this is Ruinart’s rosé Champagne.
Traditionally, rosé is produced using the maceration method, when red wine grapes are left to rest in the juice for a period of time. The longer the juice touches the red grape skins, the darker the wine. The contact time can be anything from 2 – 24 hours and is the choice of the producer.
There is a third technique called Saigneé. During the early hours of red wine production, some of the wine is run off into a new vat to make rosé. This method is also uncommon with California producing some of the finest varieties.
Almost all red grape varietals can be used to produce rosé and different grape varieties give different styles and flavours. The most common varietals are Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Sangiovese, with flavours ranging from strawberry, to rose petal and rhubarb.
Simplistically, darker rosé wine will be fuller in body and able to pair with richer heavier food.
For pale rosé e.g., Provencal, pair with light salads, light pasta and seafood. For darker rosé e.g., Southern France or Spanish, pair with grilled chicken, fish or charcuterie and light cheeses.