Rosé: Please, Make Us Blush!
Whilst some wine snobs accuse Rosé of not being “serious” wine, and others believe it only appropriate during summer, here at WineGame HQ we believe there is NEVER an untimely moment for Rosé. In fact, we have yet to meet a wine that we are not serious about, and would even go so far as to proclaim we SERIOUSLY LOVE Rosé.
What’s more, a Rosé tasting offers the opportunity for a sublime WineGame because this perfect pink comes in all manner of fabulous. Colors range from onionskin blush, to salmon, to wild, nearly florescent pinks. They also range from dry to sweet, and versions are both still and bubbly.
Have we convinced you yet? Because we are all in. #ThatsthewayweRosé
Skin Contact: Just like red wine, rosé wine can be made by extracting color from the grape skins – just a smidge, mind you, not enough to be classified as red wine. Typically, skins are left in contact with the juice for two to 24 hours: the longer in contact, the darker the color.
Saignée: Named from the French for bleeding, in the Saignée method pink juice is removed in the early stages of producing red wine. This bleeding intensifies the red wine remaining in the vats, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced and is thus more concentrated. Ferment this removed pink juice separately and voila, Rosé. Typically, the captured Rosé represents 10% of the wine that remains in the vats to become red wine.
Blending: Just as it sounds: some Rosés are made by blending red wine with white to create a pink one. Though often used to make less expensive rosé wines, blending is also the method of choice in making rosé Champagne.
Pick up a smattering of these brilliant pinks for your tasting party. Feel free to mix and match – there is no a right answer, just the right wine! And if you’re like us, you may need to try more than a few to figure out your favorites. (Winking emoji here.)
Provence, France: The most classic and traditional of all rosé wines. Typically, pale salmon in color, with a dry, elegant character, the Cary Grant of wines. Made from a combination of Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache. Prices range from $15-35, but these are some of the best Rosés in the world, so it can’t be a bad idea to invest in the more expensive bottles. The Show Off: Chateau d’Esclans Garrus Rose, Provence, France. This famous Rosé makes the rounds among locals along the French Riviera. Only six barrels are produced each vintage, driving the price to $85/bottle.
Tavel, France (Cote du Rhone): Producing a more structured Rosé with body often compared to red wine, Tavel is the only area (AOP) in France exclusively designated for Rosé. Winemakers here must adhere to the maximum of 60% Grenache and typically blend with Cinsault, although nine varieties are allowed in the blend. Salmon pink with relatively low acid. Ripe raspberry flavors dominated with notes of garrigue (fresh floral and herbal notes found in Mediterranean vegetation, including lavender, juniper and thyme). Dry but fruity. About $20 a bottle.
Rioja, Spain: Rosé in Rioja is largely Tempranillo driven, often with a bit of Graciano and Grenache or Mazuelo. These wines vary in color but are often strawberry red, with loads of strawberry, raspberry and even licorice flavors. Average of $12-20/bottle.
Grenache Rosé: Rosé is made from Grenache in many countries including Spain (where is called Grenacha), France and California. These wines tend to be a bit higher in alcohol and body and lower in acidity than one from Provence or those made with Pinot Noir. Noticeable strawberry and cherry flavors. Splendid choice for BBQ!
Pinot Noir Rosé: These elegant, light and high acidity Rosés are made in the places that Pinot Noir is famous, including Burgundy and the Loire (Sancerre) in France, in Oregon, California and even Italy. These wines range in price but tend to the more expensive, as Pinot Noir is hard to grow, $18-30 per bottle.
Sangiovese Rosé: Made from the famous Italian grape, find these in Italy but also in California and Washington too. Often a bright red color with heaps of flavor. $15-20 a bottle.
Italian Rosato: You got it – Rosé made in Italy, from a range of grapes including Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Aglianico and any number of other indigenous grapes. These will vary wildly, and cost anywhere from $9-15 to try.
White Zinfandel: Yes, you are reading correctly: the party wine of the ‘80s is considered a Rosé. These are lightly sweet, with a bounty of fruit. Wine snobs will defo flinch, but it’s a terrific wine to add to a blind tasting. Even those with their noses highest in the air love this wine when it’s blinded – and it typically only costs an average of $7!
Rosé Prosecco: Typically made from Pinot Noir to provide color, these wines are fruit driven with apple and strawberry flavors and soft, fizzy bubbles. Average price: $9.
Rosé Cava: You heard it here. Deep pink to light red, these affordable bubbles will be earthier and more robust than the rosé Prosecco, but probably less fine than rosé Champagne. At an average of $10-25, this pink fizz often offers great value.
Rosé Champagne: Turn up the romance. Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are used to color this delicate, elegant, mineral bubbly. This will add class and elegance to ANY party. $25-150+
If you are going to host the perfect tasting, don’t skimp on the eats. Use your imagination: the versatility of Rosé provides an excuse to do whatever you want, really. Here are a few of our favorite ideas.
Uptown Pretty: Steak salad spritzed with freshly roasted corn.
Appetizer Feast: Crostini slathered with herbed goat cheese, shrimp ceviche on taro chips and Arancini di Risotto (yum, fried risotto balls).
Bruschetta Bar: Make a load of crusty bread bites with toppings of brie & bacon, goat cheese, pear and honey, classic tomato and garlic, roasted cherry, salmon with dill crème fraiche, mixed seafood… whatever you invent, it will be delicious.
Pizza Pizza: Try crispy thin flatbread pizzas with goat cheese, arugula, béchamel & potato, or Italian sausage and roasted veggies: see above. It’s all good.
Taco Truck: Forget DIY – get the truck for an epic party. Tacos and Tempranillo! They’ll love you for life.
Civilized BBQ: Herbed chicken on the grill, or maybe pork tenderloin stuffed with herbs, add a lightly dressed rice salad and roasted potatoes. Darling, you should have!
Beastly BBQ: Loaded burgers, spicy sausages and blue cheese, bacon potato salad. 'Nuf said.