Sip Bits: Rosé Q&A

Rosé Q&A

Spring is finally here! Ok, we might have our Rosé-tinted glasses on as it’s pretty grey, wet and cold outside right now. Before we know it #roséallday weather will be here, so let’s brush-up on our Rosé knowledge with a quick Q&A so you can not only sip Rosé but chat in style this Spring.

What is Provencal-style Rosé?

Well, let’s start with what is Provence – it is a region in France where at least 1/2 to as much as 2/3rd of the entire regional production is Rosé. So they know a thing or two about how to make this beautiful bonanza of pinkness. Generally, it is light pink, elegant and dry in style.

In France, they do things a bit more by the rules and there are several regional AOC governing bodies that regulate the production of wines. In all areas the main variety that composes Provencial Rosé wines is Grenache, generally blended with some or many of the following varieties in differing percentages: Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and a few other French varieties.

Can you age Rosé?

The short answer is generally you wouldn’t want to, not that you could actually bring yourself to put away some of these beautiful pink hued bottles! Generally though, Rosé is made to be consumed young, similar to white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The grapes for Rosé wines tend to be picked early to preserve vibrant characteristics and the winemaking focus is to amplify and keep the fresh flavours and bright acidity, sometimes with a bit of sweetness. Added to that fact that Rosé wines are not generally aged in oak, but instead tend to be fermented in stainless steel vats. This means that the wines do not have excessive tannins from the wine skins nor oak tannins from barrels.

Ageability can also depend on the wine variety that is used to make the Rosé as well as winemaking techniques, as some red wine grapes have more tannins than others, for example Mourvèdre or Cabernet Sauvignon which allow them to age a bit better and longer than their other red wine variety counterparts.

But really, you should enjoy Rosé throughout the year and not worry too much about ageing them.

Rosé Q&A

At what temperature should you serve Rosé?

Rosé should be refreshing and the best thing is to always have a bottle on hand in your refrigerator. Not only does this wine please your white wine drinking friends, but can appease even the most die-hard red wine drinkers as well. The technical definition for how cold it should be is between 5-6 °C and 41-43 °F, but unless you have a high-tech wine fridge, pop it into your refrigerator a few hours before consumption and you should be sweet.

Are blush wine and Rosé the same thing?

This designation can be very confusing especially to someone who just really likes Rosé, but basically they are the same thing.

Blush wine, specifically made its name and became famous in the 1980’s due to the White Zinfandel craze in the United States. Generally blush wines were made strictly from red grapes that infused a ‘blush’ of colour to the wines and tended to be somewhat sweet from the grape must.

But nowadays these terms can be used interchangeably, however blush is now used more of an adjective to describe a Rosé colour than a different style of wine.

How is Rosé champagne made?

Champagne is actually quite different to still wine in how it is made. If we are strictly talking about Champagne, then this is only from the French Champagne region, and they again are quite strict on how wines are made.

If you are talking about sparkling wine (not from Champagne in France), there are two ways to make a bubbly Rosé. The traditional Method Traditionelle or by infusing a sparkling wine style with carbonation.

Either way, the pink colour is established by blending the juice from Chardonnay with the red wine grapes Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier. The colour can be extracted either from the juice after a delicate pressing or the saignée method where the grapes are allowed to macerate (stay) on its skins for a couple of hours prior to pressing the juice.

But really there is nothing better than a glass of pink bubbles!

Rosé Q&A

Does price-point make a difference in choosing a good Rosé?

As with any category or wine, it all depends on your tastes, the occasion and your expectations. Price alone does not make one wine better than another.

Rosé wines overall tend to be quite accessible and you will generally get a good quality Rosé between $10-20. Over this amount, you will be looking at more boutique producers, more attention to vineyard and winemaking practices and limited availability. So we suggest you get a selection and make your own conclusions as to what Rosé wines you prefer best!

What style of Rosé do you think is most popular with Kiwis?

Kiwi’s tastes are changing and it is exciting to see how they are all getting behind Rosé as a category, as there are so many different regions, styles and producers that are making stellar New Zealand Rosé. In the last three years the popularity of Rosé can be seen just by cruising down the aisle at your local supermarket, there should be a great selection to choose from and the number of award entrants in the Rosé category has reached record numbers in the past few years.

That being said, Kiwis are starting to drink dryer and lighter coloured Rosé wines and the most prolific varieties would be from Pinot Noir and Merlot. However, there are some renegades out there, sure to convert consumers to alternative varieties such as Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, different blends.

Check out our Rosé Directory to find the Rosé that right for you!