In any incomprehensible situation, bet on pink – and you will win. The eternal dilemma “he wants to order meat, she wants fish” is easily resolved with one bottle of rosé wine.
This drink is so conflict-free that it easily gets along with the most varied food – from brutal shish kebabs to tartlets with red caviar.
In the summer heat, this thing is generally irreplaceable – it is worth falling into a hammock with a glass of something pink, and life definitely becomes brighter.
“Rosé wine is hard to take seriously,” says Jancis Robinson, renowned wine critic and educator.
And there is nothing offensive in this. One can only be glad that in the world of wine – very mature, serious and snobbish – there is such a pleasant and informal thing as a drink suitable for any occasion – from romantic dates to picnics on the lawn.
Why rosé wines are gaining popularity
The assets of most rosé wines are lightness, elegance, freshness and a low degree. What makes them a versatile summer drink that can answer all the seasonal challenges.
It is not for nothing that in the United States and Australia, countries that are simply obsessed with barbecue, they begin to drink rosé wine in the fresh air immediately with the arrival of spring.
After all, open fire produces dishes with a rather sharp and aggressive taste, which in any other season could be well balanced by red tannin wines, but in summer you don’t want the heaviness of tannins at all.
Strong drinks in the heat can take you too far. Beer unnecessarily grounds the situation. And rosé wine is an easy compromise that can keep the general fun at a decent level.
Visualization is also important, and rosé wine, even in plastic cups, looks prettier than beer and will not damage the reputation of a wine connoisseur.
Finally, value for money is another and, perhaps, one of the main arguments in favor of rosé wine. Due to their relative cheapness, even in elite boutiques, rosé wines will cost as much as they actually cost. And they are rarely faked.
Plus, these wines are mostly young and do not contain very complex, ultra-refined flavor combinations. Therefore, rosés suffer much less from heat and hypothermia than whites or reds, so in the case of rosé wine, it would not be sacrilegious to pour wine over ice cubes.
True, there is still a clan of pink champagnes standing apart, the aroma of which is recognized by connoisseurs as a standard of non-standard sophistication. But pink champagne is a completely different story.
How rosé wines are made
Contrary to stereotypes, rosé wines are not the result of mixing white and red. There are two generally accepted methods for their production.
The first is known as “bleeding” – red grapes are lightly pressed, as a result, their skin is torn, and the enzymes present on the skin start the fermentation of the future wine.
After a few hours, the fermented juice is separated from the skin, but it has time to turn into a rich pink color. Here it is important not to overdo it – that’s why in France rosé is often called “wine of one night”.
However, everything that needs to happen during this night has time to happen: after bloodletting, the wine will be much richer in taste and powerful than white, but much less tannic than red.
The second method, direct pressing, essentially means full pressing. All the same red grapes are choked, immediately the skin and seeds are removed from the wine material – otherwise the wine will get sharp grassy accents inappropriate in the fruity range of rosé wines.
As a result, the juice begins to ferment already partially clarified. And then – everything is according to the scheme: fermentation, aging, bottling.
Rosé wine of which country to choose
Since initially rosé wine was often a “by-product” of the production of red wines, rosé wine is widely represented on a planetary scale.
Today, everything is done a little differently: many rosés are originally planned for production as rosés, however, it is easier to list in which wine-producing countries do not make rosé wines – there are none in Argentina.
In general, the picture of “pink winemaking” almost completely repeats the wine map of the world, so it makes sense to dwell on the leaders.
American “white zinfandel” (which is actually pink) is what comes to mind first. BBQ Country sells the most bottles of rosé in a year today.
And although connoisseurs call the aggressively fruity, high-sugar “zinfandel” punch, it does its job well – a compromise between wine and beer to accompany grilled meats.
French rosé wines are more varied, more refined, thinner than American ones. On the example of France, you can explore the whole gamut of shades of rosé wines. In addition, the flavor of history adds to their taste.
For example, the Tavel region – the local pinks became popular thanks to King Philip the Handsome, who was a big fan of them. These wines are complex, powerful and concentrated, their aromas are velvety, fruity, but without excessive pressure.
The main French rose varieties are Syrah, Cinsault, and Grenache. The latter is considered the benchmark for bloodletting rosé winemaking, as it produces a strong fruity note and rich color.
In Provence, the leader in the production of European rose wines, grenache is one of the main varieties. Most of the Provencal rosés are quite strong, they have a characteristic smell of the famous herbs, as well as the lavender that grows heaps here.
Important for the “pink” Provence, as well as the Languedoc, the Mourvèdre variety bred here. In the 14th century, it spread to Spain, probably because Provence at that time was under the rule of Catalonia.
Mourvedre is pressed to produce rosé wines with an orange tint and a slight citrus aroma.
The secret of the rose from the Loire Valley is the grollo variety, which gives the wine the aroma of violets and red berries – currants, raspberries, strawberries, cherries. The unobtrusive velvety of these wines makes them a godsend for summer receptions.
The darkest ruby pink is traditionally made in Bordeaux. The brightest is in Lirak, where the sun and the mistral, and the freshness of wines can compete with whites.
In Spain, almost all major companies produce rosé wine, it is easy to drown in this variety, since rosé wines, even from neighboring slopes of the same hill, can seriously differ in bouquet and color scheme.
That is why Jancis Robinson finds a comparative tasting of Spanish rosés completely pointless.
The only thing worth knowing is that the first decent value for money bottle of rosé you find in a supermarket will most likely be of Spanish origin.
In Italy, the picture is exactly the opposite. The best rosés there, oddly enough, come from completely “non-wine” regions – for example, a very decent Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Umbria.
Portugal is famous for Mateus rosé wine. In Switzerland, the rose is called oeil de perdrix, “partridge’s eye”, for its pinkish-gold hue.
What pink is in trend
It is important to note here that there are practically no “great” wines among “pink” wines (with the possible exception of pink champagne).
And although thanks to the efforts of individual wine houses, most often French, the “pink elite” today you can find rosé wines for 100 euros per bottle, most rosé wines are simple, and the price range of 10–15 euros makes them a drink, which called, everyday demand, you can drink them often, a lot and without unnecessary ceremonies.
This literally unties the hands of rosé wine lovers: you can not rely on any reference books and expert opinions, but choose what you like.
Moreover, the world of rosé is so diverse: dry and semi-sweet, from light wines “for Monday evening” to muscular, rich samples suitable for fatty foods, from herbal aromas to shades of candy and caramel, from the rich color of currant jelly to the subtle shade of onion peel.
For those who still consider rosé a girly drink, there is good news: today color has no gender, and if you can wear a dawn-colored shirt to a business meeting without sacrificing manhood, then ordering a glass of pink is all the more so.
Moreover, pink ones are that rare case when exposure goes to blame rather in the negative. Old vintage in rosé is nonsense, aging kills that fresh acidity, fruitiness and youthful spontaneity that we love rosé wines for.
So you can safely take the wine of the latest harvest from the shelf. What makes the fashion for rose wines especially windy.
Of course, there are eternal values - like Bordeaux clarets, there are Provencal wines with their Peisan charm, which have always been out of fashion.
But the accents in the consumption of roses change literally every year: yesterday everyone drank New Zealand Pinot Noir and semi-dry rosé from Georgia, and today rosé wine from Languedoc or Armenian rosé of the autochthonous Areni variety are in fantastic demand.
However, the landmarks in rosé winemaking are approximately the same as in the wine world as a whole: biodynamics and organics, small-circulation wines from old wine regions and new countries that have just begun to enter the world market with rosé.
A wide selection, a low degree and an affordable price make rosé wines an easy summer adventure, always with a happy ending.