The rise of the rosé. The Wine Ladies suggest you think Pink for summer. Think pink indeed, and we’re not talking Giorgio Armani or Dolce & Gabana. Although we are referring to what’s in fashion, it’s not what you’re wearing, but what’s in your wine glass. Rosés ,or rosé style wines, and that includes sparkling rosé, are enjoying a much deserved revival, with recent years showing the world going wild for these ever popular pink wines. Occupying prime real estate both on wine lists and on store shelves, these blushing “bevies” are making a comeback. Although they have at times been thought of as inferior wines or pop wines, times are a changing, so crack open a refreshingly crisp and aromatic rosé, and join us on our vinous journey exploring the power of pink. Why is everything coming up roses now you may ask? The sweeter, cloying days of former rosé are gone, with a plethora of wonderfully, crisp, fresh and dry wines being produced in many parts of the wine-growing world. Improved wine making equipment and wine making techniques have played a significant role, with the new rosés showing vibrant aromas, flavors and good structure. Pick your variety, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cinsault, Zinfandel or Cabernet just to name a few, or select your rosé according to colour, from a pale salmon hue to deep neon pink. The possibilities are endless. Rosés are the perfect wine for spring and summer, easily approachable and lighter bodied, served chilled making a perfect accompaniment to a variety of warm weather fare. Also able to serve double duty, rosés can satisfy one’s mood for either a light red or a heftier white.
When it comes to food and wine pairing, rosés are like chameleons, able to adapt to partnering well with almost any kind of dish, from light snacks to more serious fare, whether it be seafood, poultry or pork, the rosé can do it all. Typically rosés are light, crisp and refreshing with aromas that can span fresh cut flowers, ripe red fruits like strawberry and cherry, or show hints of dried herbs and spice. Easy to drink, non-complicated wines, perfect for those early days of the barbeque, picnics, or gatherings at the cottage. No need to break the bank either, are recession proof, rosés coming in a range of price points to suit everybody’s budget. What exactly is a rosé and how is it made? Rosé wine, from the French word rose meaning “pinkish” is a wine that is typically made from red varietals, although there are a few exceptions. The wine gets its colour from the contact the juice has with the skins, for just a few hours or up to several days, depending on the grape and the winemaker’s preference.
There are basically three methods of making rosés, each of which produce rosé wines of varying levels of intensity of colour, aroma and structure. The most common method involves gently crushing the black grapes, allowing the juice to remain with the skin for just long enough to extract the desired hue usually less than 24 hours. Once the maceration is complete, the wine is fermented like a white wine, off the skins and in most cases, in stainless steel tanks. A second method deserving of a mention is the technique “Saignee” or bleeding, which results in a more concentrated wine with a greater structure and body. In this case the vintner draws a portion of the must (produced with the red grapes after a short time of maceration with the skins), only after the fermentation has begun. This technique of “bleeding” increases the aromatics and polyphenols, thus the wine’s concentration.