Wine 101: Rose

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

Depending on the method and the grapes used, you will find a range of colors, from salmon to hot pink, and sweetness levels, from sweet to bone dry. 

Rosé, rosado, rosato, whether in France, the U.S., Portugal, Spain, Italy, or virtually anywhere in the world where wine is made, you can find Rosé.

Rosé has labored for some time to escape the shadow of White Zinfandel, which many people associate with being an overly sweet, beginner’s wine. Yet, as many have discovered, rosé can be dry or even bone dry, as well as a great value when compared to some higher priced red wines.

Rosés can be made using different methods and different grape varietals. Depending on the method and the grapes used, you will find a range of colors, from salmon to hot pink, and sweetness levels, from sweet to bone dry. And don’t forget to try a sparkling rosé for that special occasion or just for fun!

The most common method of making a rosé wine is through skin contact. Dark-skinned grapes are crushed, and the grape juice is allowed to stay in contact with the skins (maceration) for a short period of time. This can range from several hours to several days. The longer the contact, the darker the color of the wine.

Many rosés are made by blending multiple grape varietals, some of the most common being, sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, grenache, pinot noir, and mourvedre.

Rosés are meant to be drunk young, in other words within two to three years of the vintage date on the label. They’re not made to put away until your toddler graduates from college.

Old World Rosé vs New World Rosé

Generally speaking, Old World Rosés, (think Europe), tend to be dryer in style than New World Rosé, (California, South America, Australia). But, like just about everything else, there are exceptions. At least this will give you a sense of direction if you’re just starting to explore rosé wines.

When is the best time of year to drink rosé? Traditionally, spring, summer, and Thanksgiving (no wine pairs better with the variety of flavors on the Thanksgiving table) were the most popular times of year for people to drink rosé. Today, people are discovering that rosé is good anytime.

Rosé is a versatile wine when it comes to pairing with food: from appetizers to roasted fish, pasta with red sauce, soft cheeses, chicken, pork, and summer salads. And you can always sip a glass or two of nicely chilled rosé by itself! Yes, don’t forget to serve it chilled.