Rosé (roe-ZAY) A Rosé by Any Other Name Technically, a rosé is an "unfinished red wine," but the term seems so- secondary. Rosé is a different sort of wine, with all the refreshing qualities of a white wine mixed with some characteristics of a red. It can be made from many different grape varietals and in many different regions, the most popular and successful being Southern France, Spain, California & Italy.
Notable Facts Rosé is a wine that goes through the red winemaking process, but is stopped before extracting too many red wine characteristics, a process called saignee. Almost always made from red varietals, the grapes are pressed and the juice sits with the skins for fermentation - but just for a little while - enough time to get a bit of color and a bit of the skin characteristics. Then fermentation continues as a white wine, most often in stainless steel. Rosés are typically ready to drink early - not so much to age. Some popular regions of Rosé are Tavel (an AOC for ONLY rosé wines in the Rhone area of France), other areas of Southern France, Spain, Italy and California. Almost all regions make rosé, and many from different grape varieties (Grenache-based in Spain, France, Australia and South Africa; Sangiovese or Nebbiolo in Italy). Just like red and white wines, rosés can be of different styles - sweet or dry, dark or light - the winemaker and grape variety (or varieties as rosés are often blended) are key. Pink wines have delicious character and are perfect for food. For dryer styles of Rosé, try those from Southern France and Spain, for the sweeter styles, look for White Zinfandel and some other California rosé makers.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Southern France, Spain, Italy, California
Common Descriptors: strawberry, raspberry
Learn More About Provence, France
Not just a destination for tourists and movie stars, Provence makes some delicious and easy-drinking wines. Most of these wines are rosé – a dry, pale, pink style rose. The climate here is Mediterranean, with most of the vines planted on southern facing slopes to avoid the fierce Mistral winds. Thirteen varieties are permitted in the region, the most important for rose being Carignan, Grenache and Cinsault. A move is being made to bring in more varieties, like Syrah, to increase the quality of the wines.
The most important appellation is Côtes de Provence, where about 80% of the production is the typical style rose. Unfortunately, the easy-drinking aspect does not translate to the price – some of these wines are a bit pricey for drink-today wines. Some producers are making a shift to higher quality while others are selling their wines at a bargain. Either way, Côtes de Provence rose is a delicious match with any provence-style garlic-y cuisine. Other appellations to note include Bandol, Bellet, Les Baux-de-Provence, Cassis and Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. Though Côtes de Provence rules in amount of wine produced, the quality appellation to know is Bandol. Mostly red and mostly Mourvedre, the wines of Bandol are able to age a few years, like many a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but also enjoyed in their youth.