Rosé is made from red wine grapes, produced very similarly to red wine, though with reduced fermentation time with the skins. If you’ve ever wondered why Rosé gives its famously pink-ish hue, the answer is in its fermentation. Typically red wines are made from grapes that are fermented with direct skin contact throughout the entire process.
Rosé, on the other hand, is fermented with reduced skin contact, usually for only two or three days, until the wine reaches the pink color the winemaker desires, then the skins are removed and the juice is allowed to ferment on its own. This fermentation is also the reason Rosé’s is often lighter than standard red wines.
Due to the varietal nature of Rosé, it can essentially be produced anywhere where red grapes can be grown. The majority of Rosé production is in Provence, France, however, there are large productions in Italy, Spain, and the U.S. - specifically California.
Provence, France. Photo source
Since Rosé is made from red grapes, it’s only right that its flavor profile resembles that of a lighter red, though the Rosé is gifted with brighter, crisper flavors. Common descriptors of Rosé’s tasting profile include: Red fruits (such as strawberry, cherry, or raspberry), floral, citrus, melon, and celery. If you’re serving a bottle of Rosé, it’s best served around 45-55°F. It’s also good to note that Rosé has a short lifespan, so if you have some waiting for you in your wine chiller, it’s best to drink it sooner rather than later.
We mentioned the fermentation of the grapes that make Rosé, but it’s important to note the possible winemaking methods that are responsible for making Rosé so delicious.
First, there’s maceration - the most popular style of Rosé production. It requires winemakers to macerate, or rest, the red grapes in a container of their juices before using them to produce the wine. This style produces darker pink hues in the wine, and bolder flavors and personalities as well.
The saignée method involves “bleeding” off the juices of red wine in its earliest stages of production and using them to produce Rosé in a different vat. The production style is certainly more rare, as less than 10% of the market uses this method. This method does create a very distinct personality and flavor in the wine's final product.
Many Ways to Rosé
Rosé can be made with any red grape variety, the typical profile of the grapes used will undoubtedly show in the Rosé. Generally, Rosé is a wine that’s made from the blend of different grapes, but it can also be made from a single variety. Between the grape variety(ies) used, the climate of the growing region, and the production methods, these factors allow for several different Rosé styles to exist.
For more detailed information on the exact Rosé styles, and a study of their dryness and sweetness, we recommend checking out James Suckling’s blog for Masterclass, Learn About Rosé: The Essential Guide to Rosé Wine.
Check out the following Rosé recommendations from our Vanguard Wines portfolio:
Charles Bove NV Sparkling Rosé de Touraine
70% Cabernet Franc, 30% Gamay
A deep, rich, full-bodied dry red fruit sparkling Rosé. Beautiful red fruit notes such as strawberry, raspberry, and hints of cherry are balanced by earthy notes of chalk, minerals. Backed by subtle hints of white tree fruits. From Loire Valley, France
Marangona 2021 Chiaretto Rosé
A blend of Groppello, Marzamino, Sangiovese, and Barbera,
Classic aromas of rose petal, strawberry, and raspberry lead the flavor profile with a strong mineral core functioning to give structure, acidity, and length to this bottling. Balanced, refreshing, and perfectly delicate. From Lombardia, Italy
SPRKL Prosecco Rosé
90% Glera, 10% Pinot Noir
Bright salmon pink in color and fine perlage. On the palate, the wine is soft and fruity, with delicate floral aromas and a finish that is smooth and dry, balancing perfectly with the initial light sweetness. From Veneto, Italy.
MicroBio Wines 2020 Correcaminos Rosé
A colorful hue that resembles grapefruit juice. It is fresh and dynamic on the palate: grapefruit and citrus with some strawberry puree. Richly textured, this rosé wine drinks like a spritzy sour beer. From Castilla y León, Spain.