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Ultimate Guide to Rosé Wine

Ultimate Guide to Rosé Wine

The demand for rosé wine has exploded in the Us over the last few years. The delicate flavor profile of rosé wine that enlivens your taste buds is the reason why people can’t seem to resist rosés charm.

What Is Rosé Wine?

Although some people know what rose wine is, some believe that rosé is a combination of red and white wines. Let’s set the record straight about rosé wine once and for all. Rosé is not a combination of red and white wine.

Rosé is in a category all on its own. It’s made with distinct ingredients and methods that give the wine its pink color and characteristic flavor.

Rosé wine is a wine that uses a percentage of a grape’s skin color during the winemaking process. The difference between rosé and red wine is that red wine uses all of the skin’s pigment.

Rosé wines are produced from several different grape varieties. Rose is not specific to one country as it is made worldwide.

Rosé wine can be made into still wines, semi-sparkling wines, or blended wines. They are often compared to Zinfandel due to their sweetness levels.

Some rosé wines can be a light shade of pink, while others have a rich pink color. Some rosé wines can also have a strong fruity aroma of orange or red fruits.

How Does Rosé Get Made?

As I mentioned above, rosé wine can be made from several types of grape varieties. However, wine purists call grapes that are exclusively cultivated and harvested to make rosé wine intentional rose. The grapes are harvested earlier than usual to help conserve the grape’s acidity levels and fruity flavor.

The pink color of rosé comes from the skin, which is left in the juice after the grapes are crushed. Think of it this way; red wines are fermented with all of their skins, while white wine is fermented without the skin.

In contrast, rosé is somewhere in the middle. It is fermented with just enough skins to give it its pink color, but not so many skins that it turns into red wine.

The process of making rosé can be further broken down into maceration, Saignee, and Vin Gris.


Maceration plays an important role in winemaking. In fact, most wines are produced using this technique.

Maceration is a process that softens food after soaking it in a liquid. However, in the rosé-making process, the skins can only macerate with the wine for a specific time.

This technique is designed to lighten the red pigments released by black grape skins as it soaks. First black grapes are crushed in a press. The crushed skins macerate with the juice for as little as 2 hours or as much as 24 hours.

As I mentioned above, winemakers are meticulous about how long the grape must is allowed to macerate. The longer the must sits, the darker the rosé becomes. 

As the wine macerates, tannins which give the wine a red color, are gradually released from the skins, seeds, and stems. Tannins function like antioxidants by preventing oxidation caused by exposure to oxygen.

Since maceration ends after 24 hours, rosé wine has a less stable color and a different flavor profile than red wines. Due to this, rosé spoils faster than other types of wine. This is why they are sold shortly after they are bottled.


Saignée is a French term that means to bleed. It is considered the by-product of making red wine rather than a rosé-making technique.

The saignée technique extracts some of the juice (bleeding) from the pressed grapes to acquire a concentrated blend of tannins, color, and flavor.

This technique is common among winemakers who make bold red wines that have robust flavors. The end goal is to make red wine. However, knowing they can capitalize on this technique, winemakers take a few minutes to remove some of the grape must and bleed it to create rosé.

Vin Gris

Vin Gris is rosé wine that is made as soon as the grapes are crushed. Little to no maceration occurs.

Most people assume Vin Gris produces a wine with a grey color. However, this technique produces rosé with a pale light pink color. French wines labeled Vin Gris must be made from grapes with a light color.

The most popular Vin Gris rosés include Gamay, Cinsault, and Grenache.


Decoloring is also used to make rosé wine. In short, naturally, porous compounds, like charcoal, are added to red wine to remove some of the color from red wine.

Winemakers get charcoal from distilled carbon, including wood. The charcoal surface area to weight proportion allows it to soak up color materials as well as tannins in wine.

The charcoal can also strip the wine of its acidity and flavor, creating a low-quality rosé. For this reason, decoloring is hardly used in rosé-making

What’s the Difference Between Sweet Rosé and Dry Rosé?

Rosé wines fall into one of two categories: dry or sweet. However, most rosés tend to be dry rather than sweet. 

European rosés tend to be dry. Dry rosé wines are wines that have a low sugar profile. These wines have high levels of tannins. Tannins make your mouth dry and give the wine a bitter flavor.

However, rosé produced in the U.S. are sweeter with stronger fruity flavors. The differing levels of sweetness are a result of the climate and techniques used to make the wine.

Nevertheless, there are some exceptions, as some Americans use the same techniques Europeans use to make dry Roses.

The most popular rosés are Pink Moscato, White Zinfandel, and White Merlot. The most popular dry rose wines include Syrah, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Carignan, and Grenache.

How Many Types of Rosé Wine Are There?

France is the largest producer of rosé wine. French Rose features a variety of grapes cultivated in various types of soil. The different grapes create several shades of rosé.

These are the 5 major varieties of rosé wines.

Province Wines

Provencal rosé has risen in popularity. Provence is located along the Mediterranean border. About 4 regions within Provence produce 4 different rosés, each with a distinct flavor.

Provencal rosé wines can be made from a mixture of Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault. Sometimes Mourvèdre grapes may also be added to the mix.

Provencal rosé has low levels of alcohol. It has a color that is a pale pink color that is nearly white and comes in the most luxurious bottles. The flavor of Provencal rosé is fresh, crisp, dry, and fruity.

Bordeaux Wines

Once upon a time, Bordeaux rosé was not as popular as they are now. The wines were considered dull. They were so sweet that the flavor tasted like caramel instead of fruit.

Bordeaux rosé was a deeper reddish color and made using the saignée. They would also be pressed juice from recently picked Merlot grapes.

However, today, Bordeaux rosé has risen to the occasion. There are vineyards in Bordeaux specifically created for growing rosé.

The rosé grapes are picked earlier than normal and processed differently from red wine grapes.

As a result, high-quality Bordeaux rosé blends. Some rosé wines can even be made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Bordeaux rosé is a big contender in the wine world because it produces a fresh, crisp pale-colored rosé. The fruity profile makes the rosés flavor even more addicting.

Rhone Valley Rosé

Rhone Valley wine is an interesting rosé. Typically, rosé can be produced from Cinsault, Syrah, or Mourvèdre grapes. Some rosé wines may even include white grapes.

Tavel, Rhone Valley was the first and only controlled region for rosé. Even though it is considered an intense rosé wine with a concentrated flavor, Tavel is more of a fragile red wine compared to the typical rosé.

The grape must is allowed to macerate longer. Usually, winemakers macerate the wine for 12-24 hours which creates rosé of various colors. The shades can range from ruby to fuchsia.

Nevertheless, Tavel rosés do get better with age. Even though it is known for its deep pink rosé, the region still produces lighter, fruitier rosés.

Loire Valley Rosés

The Loire valley produces diverse wines, including red, white, and sparkling wines. However, they also produce great rosé wines.

This warm climate has chalky soil, hills, and narrow rivers. Grapes such as Coteaux Giennnois, Sancerre, Menetou Salon are used to produce superior quality rosé wines.

For example, a Sancerre rosé has fruity notes of cherry, minerality, and a crisp texture. It is often compared to a Pinot Noir that has been aged for 2-3 years.

Rosés made in Chignon and Bourgueil, Touraine are known for their red currant and spice profiles. Furthermore, dry rosé production has doubled in recent times.

Anjou rosés cultivated near the Atlantic ocean are typically made from Gamay Cabernet Franc, Grolleau, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These wines have strong notes of raspberries and red currants.

Languedoc Rosé

Languedoc is the largest wine grower in the world. It is France’s number 1 rosé producer. Research suggests Languedoc wines represent 34% of the country’s rosé wine and 11% of all rosé wines produced in the world. 

Languedoc is a large region with many vineyards with different soils. There are also different varieties of grapes, and the vineyards are near the sea.

Rosé produced in this region is usually made via the bleeding method. Therefore, Languedoc rosés have a crisp acidic flavor, refreshing finish, and nearly red color.

Some rosés are made using one type of grape. However, most rosés are blended wines made with Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault grapes.

What Defines a Rosé Wine?

Rosé wine has a diverse range of flavors. There are so many flavors that you can drink rosé wine year-round.

Nevertheless, the characteristics define rosé wine. As I mentioned above, rosé can be blended, still, or sparkling. The flavor profile is almost always a fresh taste reminiscent of fruit and slightly acidic. Furthermore, rosé wines can either be extremely dry or quite sweet.

Rosé will taste different according to the type of grapes used to make it. Therefore, you should always inspect the wine label to make sure you understand what you are getting in terms of flavor.

Rose’s color can range from pink to semi-dark pink, dark pink, and pale pink. The flavor of rosé can range from strawberry to citrus, pomegranate, raspberry, rhubarb, red cherry, cranberry, and dark cherry.

Other rosé wines can also boast flavors of mint and grapefruit, rose petals, herbs, jam, bell peppers, and black peppers.

The aroma of rosé can also vary. Rosé is often laden with strawberry, watermelon, violet, jasmine, roses, and violet aromas.

Rosé wines are not aged as they are produced with freshness in mind. This is why discarding rosé wine is recommended after 2 years.

Can Rosé Wine Be Full-bodied?

Rosé is wine, so its body ranges. Rose can be full-bodied, light-bodied, or medium-bodied.

Wines such as Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon are considered full-bodied rosés. In contrast Montepulciano rosé is a medium-bodied rosé.

At What Temperature Is Rosé Wine Served?

The temperature wine is served is extremely important. If rosé wine is too hot or too cold, you may not be able to get the full picture when it comes to flavor and aroma.

Rosé is a wine that’s meant to be chilled. The ideal serving temperature for rosé wine is 50°F-60°F. Some persons suggest placing the rosé wine into the fridge as soon as you get home.

However, unless you are placing the rosé into a wine cooler, this is not recommended. Wine coolers are specifically designed to keep the rosé wine at a certain temperature.

If you place the rosé wine into a regular refrigerator, it will be too cold. The average temperature of the fridge is 40°F or below.

It is much better to place the rosé wine into the fridge 2-3 hours before you intend to drink it. This way, the roséwill be at the perfect temperature.

Alternatively, you can place the rosé wine in the freezer 30 minutes before you intend to serve it. You can also place the rosé in a bucket of ice and water 30 minutes before you plan to serve it, and it will be the perfect temperature.

Some people suggest serving rosé over ice if you are out of time. However, as the ice cubes melt, they will dilute and alter the flavor of the rosé.

What Kind of Glass Do You Use for Rosé Wine?

The type of glass you serve the rosé in is also important. The best glasses for rosé wine are stemmed glasses with a short, narrowed bowl or stemmed glasses with a short bowl and slightly extended lip. 

Both wine glasses work well with rosé wines. However, ensure you hold the glass from the stem and not the bowl.

Your hands are one of the hottest parts of the body. Therefore, your body heat can warm the rosé wine.

Does a Rosé Wine Need To Breathe?

Rosé wine is not like red wine. So it does not need to breathe.

Decanting involves pouring the red wine into another container. Decanting the rosé wine exposes the wine to oxygen and helps the wine to develop more complex flavors. However, it is not necessary for rosé wine.

What Food Goes With Rosé Wine?

The perfect food pairing for rosé wine depends on the type of wine you are serving. Light-bodied rosés are best served with salads, burgers, pasta, grilled fish, rice, and seafood. In contrast, light to medium-bodied rosé wines is better suited to grilled meats such as pork tenderloin, chicken, or shellfish.

Medium to full-bodied rosés is best for grilled chicken, vegetables, pork, and salads. Lastly, full-bodied rosé wines compliment any type of BBQ, including pork shoulder and brisket, as well as grilled ribeye or Tomahawk steak and pizza.

When Should I Drink Rosé Wine?

Summer is usually reserved as rosé season. Even though it is only a few months, the general consensus is that summer is rosé time. However, you can actually drink rosé until October or all year round.

Does Rosé Wine Help You Lose Weight?

Rosé wine is an excellent option if you are on a diet but still want to indulge in a glass of wine. Rosé has a small number of calories. One five-ounce serving of rosé wine is only 82 calories. Therefore, compared to other alcoholic drinks, rosé wine has a low-calorie count. Just be sure to drink from a small glass so you do not increase the calorie count.

Final Thoughts

When most people think of rosé wine, they think of a pink color and fresh fruity flavor. The refreshing taste of perfectly chilled rosé is enough to put a smile on anybody’s face. So if you are new to drinking rosé wine, use the information you just learned to purchase a bottle of rosé wine.