For most wine drinkers who grew up drinking domestic rosé two words usually come to mind; sweet and cheap. Haunting examples include Beringer White Zinfandel, Barefoot Pink Moscato and even Carlo Rossi Blush. The truth is most rosé wine today is not sweet, or mass-produced and has become a mainstay on some of the world’s best restaurant wine lists for years now!
So what exactly is rosé wine and why has its popularity skyrocketed?
Rosé can be made by either blending a combination of white & red grape juice, or by lightly macerating (bleeding) the red grape skins for a few hours to create a lightly manipulated red wine. While rosé wine is made in different regions all over the world and from almost any red grape varietal, Southern France is the epicenter of rosé production.
In 600 B.C., the ancient Greeks brought vines to Marseille. A lot of the wines they consumed were generally pale or rosé hued.
Rosé craze took hold in France and was produced in the Middle Ages in Bordeaux and during the 18th century in the sparkling wines of Champagne. In both instances, these regions favored blending white juice with a small percentage of red juice as opposed to the maceration technique.
The growth of transportation in the 20th century opened up new markets for rosé wines. As tourism grew in Southern France, rosé production increased there as well as taking hold in different areas of the world.
With Americans getting more of a taste for global travel and becoming increasingly familiar with quality wines featuring a better balance of fruit and acidity, European rosé began to slowly invade the US market and the rest is history.
What makes the world of rosé wine so fascinating is that it can be so different depending on the region, the grapes and the vinification techniques used.
Rosé has become a perfect quaffer to aid in the celebration of warmer weather (but can be enjoyed year round) and while it pairs well with food, it is ideal as a porch pounder, or aperitif.
The slight amount of phenolics (chemical compounds that affect wine’s taste, color and mouthfeel) coming from the red grape skins makes rosé the perfect beverage to pair with a variety of dishes such as shellfish, seafood, vegetarian dishes, white meat, lightly prepared red meats and spicy dishes.
With a few exceptions, rosé wine should be consumed in its youth since it has little tannin, an important age-worthy component of wine. It is usually best to enjoy roses within 1 or 2 years of their vintage since their fresh aromatics are what make them so desirable.
On Thursday, June 28, I am excited to join the talented team of Feather & Wedge to celebrate a diverse bouquet of Rosé wines from countries such as Spain, Austria, France, and Greece. The wines will be served with four perfectly paired dishes to complement their individual qualities. View all the details here and please join us for an unforgettable education & culinary rosé soirée!