You don’t have to be a trained bartender to serve French rosé wines. It’s not a perfect mix of red and white wines, nor is it a blend of red and white grapes for that manner. At least not in France, as blending wines is illegal. Served chilled, pink wines are refreshing on a hot sunny day, with a barbecue, even as before dinner drinks throughout the year.
Rosé was considered as a less important wine for many years, but hopefully the situation has changed. Making rosé is easy, but making a good, refreshing and tasty pink wine is extremely difficult!
What is rosé wine?
The pink color of rosé wines is because the juice has macerated in the skins for a couple of hours or up to two or three days; the longer the wait the more intense the pink. Then the grapes are pressed. What is left is called must. The must is kept for the fermentation process for red wine making, but is discarded during fermentation of most rosé wines.
But in a second pink wine making process, the juice is kept through part of the fermentation process for the red-wine making. Some of the “juice” is drained out; this is called bleeding or saignée in French. This juice is what is used for more savory pink wines.
Technically making rosé wines is probably the oldest way of making wines. Sounds more like they were thirsty for some good stuff and couldn’t make the wait. Did you know that even Napoleon was mad about rosé?
Just like whites and reds, pinks come in dry and sweet and anything in between. It depends on the grapes, the amount of time the juice spent with the skins, etc… And to talk the talk, wine connoisseurs like to use fruit to explain their tasteful finds…Grapefruit, strawberry, red or black currant, cherry, raspberry, tomato, even bell pepper.
Where can you find the best rosé wines?
The world capital of pink wine is the south of France. The Mediterranean Arc with Provence and Languedoc Roussillon’s labeled “Pays d’Oc” wines are produced from varieties of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan grapes to make refreshing dry rosé wines. Don’t know what to order for a Rosé in a French restaurant? Ask for a Tavel and you can’t go wrong. This small Provençal town only produces savory pink wines. But beware, you risk being the laugh of the day if you ask for a Tavel in red or white.
France is the first country for the rosé production, followed by Italy and Spain. If the French people are the first rosé consumer of course, the US reached the second place, proof that the pink wine is more and more appreciated.
If you are a rosé lover you can even try rosé ice cream or attend one of the many rosé festivals that take place in spring and summer in the South of France.
There is a great advantage about pink wines – they don’t keep. Yes this is a good thing! You don’t have to save up for some special occasion or wait for it to reach its maturity! There are no excuses to pop the cork and drink pink.