The Wine Blog

3 Things You Need to Know About Rosé Wines

May 2, 2014

Ah, spring has finally sprung! Winter has not been kind us (at least not here in New England), so this warm relief is particularly satisfying.rose-wine2

But for wine lovers, the best part of all is that springtime equals rosé. If you are not familiar with rosé, here are some things you ought to know:

1) Not all rosés are sweet. Maybe it’s the delightfully delicate color. Maybe it’s the fact that most people’s first taste of rosé, was a cheap, insipid blush wine (read: White Zinfandel). However, the best examples of rosé are bone dry, beautifully berried with a zesty acidity and often times lovely notes of minerality.

2) There is more than one way to make a rosé. In fact, there are three methods:


Skin contact: Here, wine makers start out as if they were making a red wine. The grapes are pressed, and the skins are left to hang out with the skins (a process known as maceration). Think of marinating an amazing steak, or prepping an awesome sangria: the skins impart flavor and color in the same way. The crucial difference between rosés and reds are the length of time on the skins: rosé juice can spend anywhere from 3 hours to 3 days hanging out with the skins, while reds can spend up to three weeks.

Saignée: Are a fan of rich, Rhone reds? Yeah us too. What makes them so richly colored and delicious? Wine makers pump up the volume, by increasing the ratio of skins to juice, by draining off a portion of the wine. The wine that they “bleed off” is used to create it’s own delicious vino. (Talk about a two for one!)

Blending: This is the most rare of the three, and is really only an option in Champagne. Wine makers will press the Chardonnay separately from the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. They then blend the wines, prior to the secondary in bottle fermentation (the one that gives Champagne it’s fizz).

3) The name might be French, but not all rosés are! While some of our favorite rosés are in fact French, rosé wines are produced all over the world.

Here are some of the regions, varieties and styles to look out for:


Click here for the Rosé Wine List!

French rosés tend to the lightest and the freshest of the bunch but there is a ton of variety among these stellar regions. Do not feel limited by the selections below: Bordeaux, Beaujolais and the Jura make stellar rosés with their unique character.

-Provence is synonymous with rosé. There are so many regions that produce stellar juice: Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Bandol, Bellet and even straight up Provence, produce wines rich in minerals, with perfectly balanced acidity, and flavors

-Tavel sits just north of Provence in the southern Rhone. While this region is known for reds and whites, Tavel rocks at robust rosés. These babies are rustic, and spicy. Who says pink wine is girly?

-Loire rosés are still dry, but slightly more herbal and just a touch drier than their southern cousins Champagne: Pink Champagne – need we say more?

Spanish rosés are like their red and white counterparts, a little underrated. These tend to be on the darker, zestier and riper side – makes us crave barbecue and the grill (sorry, now we can’t wait for summer!)

-Navarro just north of Rioja, makes some gorgeous reds, but their Garnacha based rosés are a tremendous value.
-Txakoli is known for it’s bone dry, mineral rich, slightly effervescent whites, their rosés offer a similar experience with a richer body and more red fruit flavors.

Italian rosés range in style, from fruity to spicy to delicate with elegant minerality.

-Lagrein is a spicy, tannic acquired taste of a red grape that makes super complex fascinating rosés.
-Cerasulo means cherry red in Italian, and it is aptly named. These deeply colored rosés hail from the Abruzzo region in the south of Italy, and they are well worth seeking out.
-Prematta: this grape is unique to the Valle d’Aosta region in the Northwestern corner of Italy. The grape is super thin, resulting in a super pale wine.

Sicilian rosés are super flavorful and dripping with gorgeous, fiery volcanic minerals. If that does not make you thirsty, then we do not know what will.

American rosé is made all over the country using a variety of grapes, including pinot noir, merlot, and (you guessed it) zinfandel! We are partial to the pinot noir-based rosés ourselves.
Vin Gris Nope not a region, but rather a technique: these wines undergo a super short maceration time, imparting a kiss of color. This technique particular shines when used on Sonoma Pinots.

With that, we are off to drink a flight of rosés. Check out Drync’s Rosé Wine List and find your favorites!