Rosé is a beloved spring and summer beverage. Let’s talk rosé and how to order like an expert, just in time for warm weather.
Let’s start with the basics. There are three methods when making Rosé -Maceration., Saignee, and Blending.
Maceration Method is a rosé made from red grapes with minimal skin contact. All grape juice is clear but what gives wine color is skin contact. Red wine sits on the skins giving it a red color while white wines are pressed and rarely left on the skins (though the skins are white/yellow). With rosé, red grapes are pressed and sit on the skins for a few hours to a few days. Giving rosé its signature pink color. Though not all rosé is pink. It varies from Blush, Peach, Pink, to almost Red.
Saignee Method is when in the first few hours of making red wine some of the juice is bled off to make a rosé. It’s pretty rare and usually reserved for fine rosé notable in California’s top AVAs.
Blending Method is exactly how it sounds. A small percentage of red wine is blended with white wine. This is rare in still Rosé (and usually frowned upon and illegal in France) with a notable exception for Champagne and other sparkling wines.
Here is a little knowledge to help you find your go to rosé.
Grenache is the principal grape of Provence along with Syrah and Cabernet. Provence is the most famous rosé region in the world. Provence rosés have notes of strawberries, raspberries, cherries, herbs, floral, and watermelon. They tend to be drier and crisper on the rosé spectrum and closer to white wine.
Pinot Noir rosé is similar to Provence but tends to be a little darker and less floral. Carrying through notes of berries and melons with bright acidity. Best Pinot Noir rosé regions include Burgundy, Oregon, California, and New Zealand.
Sangiovese rosé is a popular drink coming to us from Italy. With notes of cranberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberry, and honeydew with a little minerality. This rosé tends to be bright pink and acidic.
Cabernet Sauvignon rosé can be found all over the world. Cabernet’s grape skin has high pigment making this rosé darker than the previous. It also gives us savory flavors of tobacco, pepper, and leather. Though it still has bright acidity and citrus notes.
Syrah rosé is a hearty rosé which is not surprising given that Syrah is tannic, full bodied with dark fruits and spice. This rosé has a similar flavor profile with notes of dark berries and plums with the trademark Syrah spice.
Tavel rosé is not far from Provence but these rosés are worlds apart. Tavel is a region in Rhone Valley that only produces rosé, typically from Grenache and Cinsault. Tavel is as close to red wine as a rosé lover can get. It is dark, with spice and tannins.