Rosé Time Is Any Time

Rosé Time Is Any Time

Contributed byRandy Caparoso 
As days grow longer, many of us turn to the great American summer pastime, drinking rosé. The rosé category grew an astonishing 1,433% between 2010 and 2020, and there are no signs of its popularity slowing down. According to global market research company bw166, rosé sales in supermarkets in the United States in 2010 was 149,000 cases, and by 2020 that had grown to 2,300,000 cases.
Rosé comes in a variety of shades from barely pink to deeply colored.

Although rosé is often thought of as a warm weather sipper, we should remember that it can be drunk any time of year. Rosé is produced in every winemaking country around the globe in a wide variety of styles and colors, from lightweight and barely pink to richly textured and deeply colored. A well-made rosé has everything you could ask for in a wine, often possessing the easygoing, fresh qualities of a white wine with the full mouthfeel and complex structure of a red.

France is the leader in rosé sales in the United States, followed closely by California. It is also easy to find bottles from Italy, Australia, Portugal, Spain, Chile, and just about anywhere else that grapes are grown and wine is made. Think of a red grape—Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Syrah, or Tempranillo—and somebody, somewhere is making it into rosé.

While rosé is often served on its own, the wide diversity of styles means that many of them are food-friendly and can be poured alongside your favorite dishes. Theo Rutherford, Senior Wine and Spirits Educator for Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits has this advice for pairing rosé: “Think about where the rosé is from. If there are certain foods that the region is known for, and they are also known for making rosé, they are likely to go together pretty well,” adding, “If it is a dry and acidic wine, then go with something a little fattier and allow the acid to cut through that fat. If it is a sweeter style, think about pairing it with something that has some heat to it, as it will cut the heat and balance the dish out.”
Fleurs de Prairie, a rosé from France's
Languedoc region.

There is a lot of confusion as to how rosé is made, with some consumers under the impression that it is a blend of white wine and red wine. While it can be produced with white wine and either red or rosé wine made from red grapes, as is the case with rosé Prosecco or Champagne and Spanish clarete, the majority of rosé wine is made from red grapes that are lightly pressed and then left in contact with the fermenting must for about 12 to 24 hours in order to impart some color without making a deeply hued red wine.

As Wayne Donaldson, the winemaker for Josh Cellars, explains, “Making a rosé is always about purpose and not an afterthought. Getting the color spot on is a challenge, and I achieve that with gentle pressing of the grapes to get just enough color without too much astringent grip. This results in a crisp and subtle tang that is essential to making great rose wine. White grapes are slightly more forgiving. While gentle pressing is also required to make white wine, the astringency is not naturally present as it is with reds.”

The spiritual birthplace of rosé is southern France, especially Provence and the neighboring Languedoc region, which is to the west of the Rhône River, in the direction of Spain. One bottle that we’ve been seeing pop up a lot on wine lists and in shops is Fleurs de Prairie, which is French for “wildflowers.” Delicate pink in color, it is made with a majority of Grenache and Syrah balanced with smaller amounts of Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvedre. It offers flavors of cherry and citrus with a touch of Mediterranean herb notes with good mouthfeel and bold acidity, making it perfect alongside grilled chicken or pork. From a little bit farther north in France, we also like Château Bonnet Rosé, whose blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a small amount of Sémillon (a white grape) reveals its origins in Bordeaux. Smooth in the mouth with flavors of strawberry and peach with bright acidity and a long finish, it goes well with pizza, burgers, and ribs.
Château Bonnet Rosé from Bordeaux.

If you are shopping for a crowd and don’t want to break the bank, Yellow Tail Rosé from South Eastern Australia is a good choice. Deeper in color than some of the others we sampled, it has flavors of honeydew melon, raspberry, and cherry. Try it alongside BLT’s, plank grilled salmon, or veggie burgers.

Fans of Prosecco and Rosé can rejoice; thanks to recent regulations released by the Prosecco DOC consorzio, producers in the region can now make Rosé Prosecco. Rules stipulate that it be made using 85% Glera, the traditional grape used to make Prosecco, blended with Pinot Noir, which yields a soft pink color. California-based Josh Cellars partnered with Italy’s Pozzi family to create Josh Prosecco Rosé, whose zesty acidity and flavors of black cherry and Valencia orange are natural alongside charcuterie platters or brunch dishes such as quiche or eggs Benedict.

Daniele Pozzi, the winemaker for Josh Cellars Prosecco Rosé, told us, “There are several specifications when producing Prosecco Rosé….With regards to fermentation, Italy’s DOC guidelines require that Prosecco Rosé be fermented for least 60 days in stainless steel tanks. Other sparkling rosé wines do not have this requirement, sometimes only needing to be fermented for as little as one week to ten days.”
Josh Prosecco Rosé pairs well with charcuterie.

Pozzi further elucidated, “Another difference relates to the sourcing of grapes and varieties used. To be labeled as Prosecco Rosé—like Champagne from France—grapes must come from a specific geographic area that has passed the Italian government’s quality requirements…The Italian government has even dictated requirements for the color of the Prosecco Rosé. [Other] sparkling rosé wines, however, have no such requirements and can be made with different grape selections from various regions.”

Despite a wide range of styles and flavors, it often seems that there is a one size fits all approach to pairing rosé with food, leaning towards seafood and lighter dishes. That said, Theo Rutherford believes in being adventurous in your pairing, advising, “Try different wines to find out what you like. Yes, rosé can pair well with a lot of fish dishes, fresh veggies, and maybe even a little fruit. However, it can also go well with red meat, pasta, spices, and other bold flavors. Don’t be afraid to try something unusual. If it doesn’t pair well, you’ll still have some lovely rosé to enjoy on its own.”


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