Welcome to Rosé Season!
Made from a wide variety of grape varietals such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel, rosés can be found all over the world. The biggest producers by volume are France, Spain (rosado), Italy (rosato) and the United States. Colors can range from a pale pink to near-purple, and can be still, semi-sparkling, or sparkling with a wide range of sweetness levels.
It’s the natural pigment of grape skins that gives rosé wines their color and tannic (think bitterness or dry) structure. The color, flavor, and elegance of rosé depends on three things:
- The type and quality of the grapes
- The temperature within the vat
- The length of time the nearly colorless grape juice remains in contact with the pigmented skins and seeds
After the winemaker crushes the grapes, the resulting substance called “must” consists of juice, pulp, seeds, and skin. The winemaker then chooses a vatting process, either direct pressing or maceration and bleeding.
- Direct pressing yields a rosé that is light in color because the dark skins stay in contact with the clear juice for a short period of time. The grapes are immediately pressed in a wine press to release the juice. It is then delivered to the fermentation tank.
- Maceration and bleeding is a two-step process that yields a darker colored wine. During maceration, the crushed grapes soak in a tank between two and twenty hours at a tightly controlled temperature. As the juice and skins comingle, the skins release their pigments and aromas. Once the maceration period is complete, a filter is opened at the bottom of the vat to drain or bleed the juice into the fermentation tank.
The great thing about rosé is that it is completely food-friendly and great for the spring and summer months as the flavors of rosé tend to be more subtle than their red wine varietal counterparts. The perfect, refreshing accompaniment to warm weather fare, have a glass with surf n’ turf, burgers, and everything in between.
The chameleon that it is, a rosé wine works well in a cocktail. Here are our favorites:
Christian Galliani, Columbia Wine Co. Manager and CEO of Wine for the 99, gives tips on rosé wine pairings.
We have a great selection of rosé in our store. Can’t visit us in person? Order online!