A refreshing glass of rosé wine is undeniably the epitome of the summer drinking; thirst-quenching, delicate and versatile. Somehow being offered a glass of pretty pink wine lifts the spirits and relaxes the soul and the shoulders!
But what about the colour? We all know that part of the enjoyment of drinking rosé is delighting in the colour which is the reason why it is sold in clear, often beautifully shaped bottles. The enticing colours vary between the palest steely pink to the dark richer shades of pomegranate. All rosé wine comes from red grapes and the depth of the colour is dependent on how long the red skins are allowed to lie on the grape juice. This period determines both the colour and the delicacy of the final wine. In the EU, only Champagne can be made by blending red and white wine to produce a rosé.
Does the colour make a difference to the quality? It is the grape variety and vinification techniques used to make the wine that determines the colour difference and it is the skill of the winemaker and the terroir that defines the quality. However, the popularity of a paler pink rosé definitely seems to be a global trend with the Provence rosés setting the benchmark.
Rosé can be produced in 3 different ways: many vineyards, particularly in France, plant red grapes specifically for making rosé. Most of the common red grapes Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Grenache and Gamay are used to make rosé. In the first example the grapes are grown purely for making a rosé wine. After picking, the grape skins are left to macerate in the juice for a just a few hours before fermentation occurs.
The second technique known as the Saignée method typically used by producers in Bordeaux. In this case whilst a red wine is being vinified a small quantity is “bled” off to make into an intensely flavoured rosé. Knowing the optimum time to do this is tricky and needs an experienced winemaker.
The final technique used to make rosé which incidentally is not permitted in the EU (except for making pink champagne), is known as the Blending method when a small amount of still red wine is added to white wine. New World producers use this method for making high volume, fruity inexpensive rosés.
We all know that rosé is a perfect apéritif but it also stands up well to food. For summer salads and cold meat platters go for the lighter styles. Darker rosés that are dry rich and full of cherry and pomegranate flavours will match well with more robust fish dishes and spicy foods and most offerings from the barbecue.
Don’t be afraid to pay a little more for a well-crafted rosé as you will be rewarded with a wine of depth and character.
Rosé is best served at around 7°C to get the full enjoyment of the flavours which is held back if it is too cold. If you haven’t got time to chill a bottle properly avoid the old ice-cube trick as this will dilute the wine too quickly but have a bowl of frozen grapes in your freezer ready drop into your glass.
We have five rosés at various price points on sale one of which was recently recommended by the Food and Wine writer Fiona Beckett. She said of the Bodegas Julián Chivite Las Finças “this should be a gastronomic rosé and it is. Clean, crisp and incisive with mouthwatering acidity, it could almost be a white.” Try with prawns, fresh crab, langoustines, and gravalax all readily available locally just like our wine!
Come and try our rosés at our next FREE WINE TASTING on Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th August. Corks out 11.30-3.00pm. All welcome
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