The bushes are sprouting green, the sun shines above, t-shirts and shorts abound. Spring is finally here in Colorado, thus the official beginning of Rosé season. And whether it’s called Rosé, or the Spanish Rosado, or the Italian Rosato, there are plenty to hold your pink glass with pride.
Despite the myth of that Rosés are an asinine way to enjoy grapes, partly in thanks to the infamous wine cooler-esque “White Zin” that took hold in California in the 70s, the truth is most Rosés are complex, great with a wide variety of foods, refreshing, and relatively inexpensive. So the next time you have a BBQ, let your guests in on these secrets to a delicious pink spring & summer wine.
Most Rosés are made with red grapes; NOT simply mixing red & white wine together.
Red grapes are white inside and produce clear juice. To give Rosés what seems to always be a pretty pink, red grapes are lightly crushed and the juice sits with the grape skins for only a few hours or a few days. Just like red wines, the longer the juice sits with the grape skins, the deeper the color you’ll see and the more tannins you’ll detect. “Vin Gris,” translated as “Grey Wine” is when the maceration time is extremely short. Lighter grape varieties, such as Pinot Noir, are often used to make a “Vin Gris,” almost-white wine. You can also make Rosés by the Saignée method, which is a Rosé made as a byproduct of red winemaking. To ensure a higher skin to juice ratio, winemakers will sometimes bleed off a portion of the juice during fermentation. This bled-off juice is then fermented into a Rosé.
Rosés don’t need a cellar.
Rosé is not made or meant to be aged. Generally speaking, most Rosés are meant to be enjoyed immediately, which is why you’ll have trouble finding a label more than a couple of years old.
Rosés won’t break your wallet either.
Rosé’s philosophy is generally to be an easy, fresh wine, but there are wine makers trying to convince us otherwise, by oak aging for more structure and body. Chateau D’Esclans, prices Rosés as much as $90, but most good bottles are going to be priced at or under the $20 mark.
Rosés are fantastic with food.
Rosés are easy drinking at any time, but when it comes to food, your bases are covered. Light and dry Rosés, such as those from Provençal go wonderfully with salads, shellfish and goat cheeses. Southern French and Spanish Rosés pull their weight to bigger flavors such as spicy foods and heartier meats, like lamb. Full-bodied Rosés, from a Syrah or Cabernet grape, are well matched with intense seafood dishes like butter poached lobster, barbecue or curries.