For those new to rosé it can be a bit of a conundrum. How is rosé wine made? Is rosé a mix of red and white wine, or something different altogether? It’s individuality is equal parts intimidating and intriguing to those who have yet to experience it, in all its many, blushing hues.
Rosé is made largely from red grapes, commonly pinot noir or grenache, which are crushed and then fermented in stainless steel vats. Since the inside of the grape is actually white, it’s the skins that provide rosé’s signature pink colour. These are left to soak in the wine, a process called maceration, until the desired tone is achieved. Historically, these were often a pretty pale pink, although it’s not unusual now to see some wines that are more salmon or onion-pink in colour.
Old-school rosé is generally a little bit sweet, with flavours of watermelon and raspberry, while the modern salmon-pink versions often tend to be more savoury and dry with earthy and spicy tones over a bed of subtle red fruits. Some rosés are created via saignée, which is essentially excess red wine that is dispelled from the vats to increase the ratio of wine to grape skins. Saignée wines typically have a darker colour and more tannins than rosé made in the traditional way.
Rosé wine has many unique strengths, such as its versatility when food pairing. It’s also a great addition to cocktails, able to inject not just colour, but refreshing acidity as well. Honestly, rosé is a superb wine for all occasions, with the brightness and impact of a casual and celebratory drink. That’s the best thing about rosé — there’s a style for every season.
Rosé is one of the best wines to drink in spring. In particular, French rosé is wonderful for this time of year thanks to its crisp acidity and pretty onion-pink colour. Generally made from grapes such as grenache and cinsault, Provence rosé carries beautiful delicacy of flavour, with the best wines also showing a subtle spicy, meaty edge.
Fewer wines make more sense to drink during the blooming months than this blushing drop. It is a staple in floral and fruity spring cocktails like spritzers and fizzes, and an excellent base for spring sangria. And a glass of rosé boasts just as much elegance as a flute of Champagne — both top favourites for spring race goers.
Sparkling rosé combines fine bubbles with delicate red fruits and crisp acidity to provide an icy taste sensation. Sparkling in general is among the best wines to drink in summer, and whether you are on a Champagne budget or looking for something a little more affordable, sparkling rosé is not only a great apéritif but has exceptional food matching potential. Fish and chips, in particular, is a guaranteed hit with your favourite pink sparkling — summer summed up.
Summer is also the ideal time to get into frosé, or frozen rosé. After all, there is nothing more refreshing than sitting poolside in summertime with an adult slushy in hand, and frosé is simple to make. Pour a dark, full-bodied rosé into a freezer-safe pan so that it cools down quickly. After at least 6 hours, scrape the rose into a blender. Add a cup of strawberry syrup (strained and cooled), ⅓ cup of lemon juice, and a cup of crushed ice and blend until smooth. Transfer it to a jar, stick it in the freezer until it peels out like ice cream, and then blend it again to achieve that slushy texture. Then just divide it amongst your glasses and violá! You’ve got yourself a delicious glass of homemade frosé.
Autumn is not just a transitional time for our wardrobes and recipes — the wine cellar requires a rotation, too. As the weather starts to cool, it’s time for your rosé selection to take a savoury turn as well. Though the season of burnt-orange leaves often has us lusting for mulled wine and cider, rosé is a surprisingly great wine to drink in Autumn.
Australia has a superb selection of grenache-based rosé wines. These wines are fuller bodied and come in a range of styles from raspberry-scented cherry-red wines through to the more earthy salmon-pink examples. They usually pack good flavour and spice. For food matching, air with something like chicken fajitas for a warming, spicy kick that embraces the harvest season.
Cold weather shouldn’t force rosé fans into hibernation. While the reds are classically the best wines to drink in winter, this is actually the perfect opportunity to discover rosé wine’s darker side. Don’t be shy about serving these dark rosé wines a little warmer, at around 11 degrees, so they showcase their bolder, fuller and deeper flavours. This serving method is suitable for wines made with shiraz and mourvèdre; the earthy, spicy, and meaty elements are ideal for matching with gamey dishes, including a hearty rabbit stew.