Rosé Wine 101: Everything You Need to Know

Rachel Von Sturmer is back this week with tips on drinking rosé wine! Don’t miss her guides to white wine and red wine. She also teaches a free online wine course!

Rosé, rosado, pink wine.

A chilled glass of rosé often makes the ideal wine to pair refreshingly with a light meal, a sunny late afternoon spent al fresco, or sipped with a pre-dinner snack.

Let’s get into this guide to rosé wine!

Methods for Making Rosé 

Blending white wine and red wine to make pink (a somewhat less respectable technique than the ones below, with the exception of champagne, where it is used to make rosé bubbles).

Red grapes are pressed, and briefly soak with the grape juice in a tank with their skins until the winemaker believes the perfect pink color and flavor have been achieved; the juice is then separated from the skins and undergoes fermentation into wine.

There is also a method called saignée, which means ‘to bleed’. Red grapes are pressed, and the juice is colored pink. Some of the juice is drained off before the wine becomes fully red and is used to make rosé. The rest of the juice is allowed to continue steeping and fermenting with the skins to make fully red wine.

Where Rosé wine comes from

You can find a rosé wine from almost every wine region in a huge variety of grapes, in color ranging from the palest salmon to almost ruby, and flavors that vary from savory to sweet — but there are a few key regions that are notable for their pink drink:

Southern France

Southern France is the place to start — Tavel and Bandol in Provence are famed for their premium rosé wines made from the red grapes Grenache and Cinsault (with Mourvèdre dominating in Bandol).

You can expect a crisp, dry wine, with interesting flavors ranging from red fruit like ripe strawberry and rhubarb, to more savoury dried herbs. Also look out for rosés from the Languedoc and Roussillon, in the Southwest of France, where you can find great value wines.

Spain and Portugal

Spain and Portugal are also known for their rosados. Rosado Cava is a sparkler from Spain that makes a good primer before investing in a bottle of pricier pink Champagne.

Portugal is known for its distinctly bottled Mateus, a sweeter style of sparkling pink which used to be the bestselling wine in the world, but there are many dry and still styles to choose from! (Learn more about Portuguese rosés.)

California

California is a big producer of rosé wines, and offers a beyond broad variety of styles, ranging from sweet and cheap White Zinfandel to pricier Sonoma Pinot Noir based bottles.

Serving Tips

Serve rosé chilled like a white wine, about two hours in the fridge should do. This is meant to be a crisp, easy to drink wine, often simpler and more neutral in flavor than an aromatic white or big red.

This makes it the perfect unassuming wine for food pairings, as it goes with practically everything from garlic shrimp and olives, to burgers and BBQ, or a baguette with cheese and charcuterie.

It’s also fantastic in cocktails, like this rosé wine granita or you can mix up a batch of rosé gummy bears.

Enjoy!


RACHEL VON STURMER 

Rachel von Sturmer is a Vancouver-based wine and spirits writer and classically-trained chef. Check out her site for a free email wine course. When she’s not tasting and reviewing wine, she’s channeling her love of food, wine and travel into a guide to British Columbia’s wine country and completing the WSET Diploma. Follow her on Instagram at @rachelvonsturmer.

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