Rosé can be seen as the mid point between a red and a white wine; the best of both worlds, boasting the refreshing tang of a white combined with a nice lashing of red wine flavours as it slides down. Rosé is currently being consumed by the truck load across the world, fast becoming cult like, maybe even a state of mind, as proven by soaring consumption levels in recent years.
One rosé to jot down is Chateau Beaulieu. The colour of this wine could set off a fashion rage with its ever so delicate neon orange pink. Looks a side, it’s the flavour which is utterly refined with a starburst of pure watermelon and strawberry which is the best part. It’s a dry wine with a dramatic effect on the palate; a character the best Provençal rosés poses. Vivid yet elegant rosés such as this somehow seem to encapsulate happiness in a bottle.
Where is it from?
Provence in France is the home of Rosé. No ifs, buts or maybes about it. You can fly to Nice in the south of the country, part of the French Riviera, and drive to its heart in under 60 minutes. Although this is considered Rosé’s birthplace, the style of wine is made all around the world using a variety of international and native red grapes as it’s base fruit component.
How is it made?
Rosé happens when the skins of red grapes touch wine for only a short time. Where some red wines ferment for weeks at a time on red grape skins, rosé wines are stained red for just a few short hours. They begin life with brief skin contact, as red wines do, but are soon pressed off and finished as if it were a white wine. The winemaker has complete control over the colour of the wine, and removes the red grape skins (the source of the red pigment) when the wine reaches the perfect colour.
As you can imagine, nearly any red wine grape (from Cabernet Sauvignon to Syrah) can be used to make rosé wine, however there are several common styles and grapes that are preferred for rosé. One of which is grenache, although again it depends on where the wine is being made, each region having their own unique style and taste profile.
When to drink it
Like now! There is a downside to their half and half winemaking method. Although the wines are delicious in youth, they do not age as gracefully as their white or red counterparts. They taste so good though, who really wants to wait!?
Grape skins are rich in astringent tannins and dark anthocyanins, two components which help a wine age. Over time they merge into larger complex compounds which are eventually precipitated as sediment. This takes years and can leave matured red wines paler in colour and softer on the palate. In general, wines made from thick skinned red grapes that are darkest in youth are those with the likely potential for long term ageing.
Because the skins are discarded when making white wine, whites are usually lower in preservative phenolics. Instead, it’s the acidity that can extend a white wines life. White wines which are higher in acids, such as Riesling, deteriorate much more slowly than richer white wines, including Chardonnay. Rosé on the other hand is the least stable, with most of them past their best by the time the next vintage has arrived.
What food pairs well with Rosé?
Another string to Rosé’s bow is that it pairs well with a lot of food. If there is a lesson to learn from Provence in matching wine and food, it’s the amazing versatility of snappy fruity rosés in complementing countless Mediterranean dishes. Rosés pair particularly well with a wide range of fish, shellfish, cured meats and seasoned with lots of olive oil, garlic, herbs and spices. One recommendation is a bouillabaisse which is the traditional Provençal fish stew flavoured with olive oil, saffron and dried orange peel. Accompanied with croutons and rouille; a super garlicky, pepper bombed mayonnaise. The flavour of many wines here would disappear or be distorted by such dramatic ingredients. Not so with Provençal rosés. Savagely fruity and substantial in body, they are tailor-made for bouillabaisse and other hearty seafood dishes.
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Over summer we will be launching a Rosé subscription where you will get to try different Rosés from around the world. Follow us on social @savagevinesuk to find out more.