What is Rosé Wine?

History of Rosé

It's not quite champagne and it's not quite cabernet sauvignon... So, what is this so-called pink wine? The history of rosé is actually fascinating (in our opinion, anyway). let’s take it back in time a little, because every good story starts in Ancient Greece… right? During antiquity, rosé wine was considered the most civilized wine to drink. fun fact: members of high society in Ancient Greece would water down their red wine. responsible drinking has been positively chic… we’re so into it.

From Greece to France to USA

Grape vines from Greece made their way over to Provence, France, way down in the south around Marseille. rosé remained relatively contained in this region until the Industrial Revolution. we know what you’re thinking, quite possibly the world’s best-kept secret. much like overalls, rosé has made a comeback within the past ten or so years and we. are. here for it! with such a dramatic increase in popularity, rosé has solidified itself in American culture as a sometimes dry, sometimes fruity, always delicious staple. no wonder Brangelina hopped on the rosé train! guess the term “rosé all day” isn’t a national slogan for no reason.

Tastes of Rosé Wine

No Right Way to Rosé

The taste of rosé wines -- while yes, almost always delicious -- can range pretty widely depending on the method winemakers use to make it) & the type of grape used- Yes, there's more than just a red grape! there isn’t just one way to do rosé, kinda like there isn’t just one way to do, say, strawberry ice cream. (sidenote: rosé + strawberry ice cream? sign me up!) on that note, the primary flavors you can find in rosé wines are red fruits (strawberry, cherry, raspberry), floral notes (rose petals, fittingly), citrus, melon, and -- get this -- an aftertaste of celery and/or rhubarb. are you absolutely dying for a glass of pink right now, too? 

Pinot Noir Grapes & Rosé

Rosé made with pinot noir grapes typically produce a more subtle yet zesty spin compared to the sangiovese rosé, which offers notes of spices like cloves & cinnamon. pick a pinot noir rosé for a classy French Brigitte Bardot vibe or a sangiovese version to feel like you’re under the Tuscan sun. repeat after me, you can’t lose!

Is Rosé Wine Sweet or Dry?

Science of Grapes

Let's break it down to the science, shall we? wine, in all its glorious goodness, is really just grape juice. This grape juice is filled with plenty of natural sugars, like fructose & glucose. as wine starts to ferment, in that dare i say awesome process that makes a friday night just the right amount of freaky, the sugar turns into carbon dioxide and alcohol.

Sweet vs Dry

Wines with ten or fewer grams of sugar per liter are considered “dry”. did you know that dry rosé is the most common style produced internationally? if ya didn’t, well, now you do ;) typically rosé wine made in Italy, France, and Spain will be drier. Provence is considered to be the mecca of traditional dry rosé. *pictures self in chaise longue on beach in south of france sipping rosé, living best life* sorry, had a moment, back to reality.

Common Sweet Wines

Rosé wines made outside of Europe, say in California, tend to be sweeter. the most common sweet wines are white merlot (yum), pink moscato (yum), and white zinfandel (also yum). but actually, any rosé wine can be made sweet by simply not fermenting all the sugar into alcohol. 

How is Rosé Wine Made?

The Art of Rosé

Some might say rosé-making is an art, we’d have to agree. So what goes into this beautiful, complex concoction? Let's talk about the process. Contrary to popular belief, rosé is not typically made by mixing white wine with red wine. that would simply be much too easy ;) the process of making this nectar of all things good & beautiful in this world is very intricate, so read carefully: 

Attention to Detail 

Jerome Pernote, head of sales & marketing at Chateau Léoube (not too shabby), describes rosé wine as being made, “specially, with close attention given at every moment in its development, to the color, aromas, and taste that have made it such a success. Because of the precision and the attention to detail that it demands, of all the three colors, rosé wine is probably the most complicated to produce”. sounds like some high-brow grape juice to us!

Trust the Process

The aroma, flavor, and color all occur from the grape skin. there are three different methods to making rosé: maceration, saignee, and blending. say wut? read on, my friend.

Maceration is the most common way to make rosé. it’s basically when red wine grapes (pinot noir, for example) are let to rest in their juice for a period of time. then, the entire batch of juice is finished into a rosé wine. ta-dah! like magic (but not, because it’s actually all a product of really hard work & long hours put in by all the fantastic winemakers in the world who are pretty much VIPs in their own right).

The saignée method, french for the “bloody” method (fun fact!), is when, during the first few hours of making a red wine, some of the juice is bled off and put into a new vat to make rosé. This method not only produces a lovely rosé but also helps concentrate the red wine intensity. so cool, right?! This method is super typical in California. 

Blend it Up

You know how earlier in this blurb (the fourth sentence in, to be precise) we said that rosé isn’t typically made by blending white & red wine together? well, the blending method is the exception to that. It involves mixing a little bit of red wine into a vat of white wine. lot of white (usually about 95%) + little red (usually around 5%) = cute lil’ pink rosé. remember how we said this method is just “too easy” a way to make such a complex drink? well, that’s kinda true -- the blending method is for sure the most uncommon of the three methods to make rosé & is very much looked down upon. some refuse to even consider wines made like this actual rosé. sooooo there’s that.

What Foods Pair Well with Rosé Wine?

Pairs Well With...

Rosé is one of the more versatile wines that exist, part of why we love it so! you know how red wines (certain ones, anyway) typically pair well with red meat dishes, heavy pastas, that sort of thing? and a lot of whites are fantastic with fish and lighter, fruity/citrus-y meals? well, some might say rosé can fall somewhere in the middle, a good match for a much broader variety of cuisines. 

It’s All About the Balance

The main factor to consider when trying to pair rosé with food is whether it’s a dry or a sweet one. sweeter rosés generally pair better with richer meals like barbecued meats, roasts, and rich sauces. how come, you ask? The sweetness in the rosé helps balance the smoky flavors and tame the saltiness in salty food. lighter and dryer rosé pairs better with more delicate foods: salads, vegetables, charcuterie, and grilled chicken. The balance of floral atoms, freshness, and acidity helps it pair well with lighter meals. we know what you’re thinking, “what can’t rosé do??” 

Not for Dessert 

Nobody is perfect, ladies n’ gents. Rosé wines do not pair well with desserts, as sweet foods can make the wine taste bitter and flat. definitely treat yo’ self with a glass of rosé and a delectable dessert, but we don’t suggest doing it at the same time...