You may have noticed varying shades of pink wine appearing more frequently on bar tops and dining tables recently. In the past few years, rosé has come into its own and is swiftly becoming chic and fashionable. Although its popularity is rapidly expanding, rosé is still a mystery to some – so I thought I’d answer a few common questions I’ve been hearing about rosé.
Is rosé sweet? For years, rosé suffered from a less-than-stellar reputation – mostly due to the unsophisticated stigma associated with other less-palatable, sickly sweet rose-colored options like white zinfandel and pink moscato. Although rosé is sometimes sweet, it’s likely that you’ll find it to be more dry than you may expect. If you prefer a drier wine, you can’t go wrong with a European (or Old World) selection, particularly from the Provence region of France, the epicenter of rosé production – these wines will typically be less sweet than rosé from other regions (New World).
When should I drink it? Rosé is great to drink any time of the year, although I do find it very refreshing in the summertime.
What foods pair best with rosé? One of the beautiful things about rosé is that it is exceptionally food friendly. You can serve it alongside almost anything from seafood to barbecue to ultra-spicy ethnic cuisine. I love to sip a sparkling Rosé with fresh, chilled oysters and mignonette.
What temperature is best for serving rosé? Because it’s less intense and heavy than red wines, it’s served chilled like white. The perfect temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees – colder than red, but not as cold as sparkling wines should be served. Unless, of course, it’s a sparkling rosé.
Why is rosé pink? Some common misconceptions are that rosé is made by mixing red and white wines or are made from a special “pink” grape. Rosé wines are made with the same grapes used to make red wine. All grape juice comes out clear, the pigmentation of wine comes from the grape skins as they soak in the juice – this process is called maceration. The longer the skins are left to macerate in the juice, the darker the color of the wine will be. Allowing rosé wines to macerate for a longer amount of time also causes the wine to adopt more of the rich, tannic qualities found in red wines.
How much do I have to spend for a good bottle? This is another wonderful thing about rosé! It does not improve with age like other wines, so the best choices are no more than a year or two old – and not very expensive – you should be able to get a bottle of rosé that you love for less than $20. Plus, because you’re spending less per bottle, you can afford to experiment with a few different rosés to find your favorite.