Wine Varieties

Rosé Wine

Rosé wine is not named after a specific region or the varietals used in its making. It is named after the colour; Rosé comes from the French word rose…

A wine by any other name

Rosé wine is not named after a specific region or the varietals used in its making. It is named after the colour; Rosé comes from the French word rose meaning pink.


Rosé wines can be made using several methods. The skin contact method is where black-skinned grapes are given limited time in contact with the pressed juice. This process produces pink Rosé wine and the longer the juice is exposed to the skin the deeper the colour of the wine. The saignée or bleeding method involves removing pink juice from wine vats to intensify the colour and tannins of red wine. Once removed, the pink juice is fermented to become Rosé wine.


Australian Rosé wine used to have a reputation for being a simple, sweet and pleasantly coloured but boring and not at all sophisticated. But attitudes, along with the quality of the wine, have changed for the better. These days in Australia, Rosé is more likely to be found on the tables of bearded and bespectacled inner-city hipsters.


The French, as ever, started the trend and tend to sip it in the summer. Bordeaux Rosé wine was popular in the 1800s with high demand in Britain for paler varieties from the region. The Brits similarly turn pink when the sun comes out and have been enjoying success with English Rosé from their own vineyards.

How to pronounce

It is generally not expected to pronounce the ‘r’ as the French do. Instead, Rosé is pronounced ro-zay. Ro, as in row your boat, -zay.


There isn’t simply one type of Rosé. The wine can range from very sweet Rosé to very dry Rosé. Any dark-skinned grape varietals can be used to make Rosé wine. Pinot Noir produces a pale Rosé the colour of the skin from a brown onion. Grenache, on the other hand, produces vibrant, dark pink Rosé wine.


The best Rosé, or, at least, some of the most popular, come from France and Spain with the two countries producing the greatest volumes. Australian Rosé wine has come a long way. The variety of grapes and regions available to make Rosé and increasing demand for more sophisticated wines across the board has raised the bar. Australians can and do expect more from their Rosé and winemakers across the country are responding affordable wines of high quality.


Food pairing

Rosé wine can pair well with any food. The trick to picking the right Rosé for the right food is looking at the white and red equivalents. The very light, dry Rosé wines, characteristic of those produced in Provence, will pair well with food that suits dry white wines. Pasta and white rice dishes pair readily with light, dry Rosé wines, as do salads and seafood, especially shellfish. The bolder, more full-bodied Rosé wines pair really well with rich and spicy cuisine such as Indian curries or Mexican food.


For special occasions, Rosé Champagne is perfect with richer shellfish such as lobster but is also a natural match for pink-in-the-middle roast lamb.

Cheese pairing

Pairing cheese with Rosé wine follows many of the same rules as pairing with other food.


Tart, tangy, acidic goat’s cheese pairs well with dry, light Rosé. Whereas a gooey, though not too runny, Camembert is a great match for fruity Rosé wine that isn’t too sweet. Mature, hard cheese will pair perfectly with the more savoury Rosé wines such as those made from Cabernet Sauvignon.


Notable regions

French regions, known for red wines, produce a variety of excellent Rosé wines from the dominant grapes in the regions. Spain, notably the Navarra region, produces Rosé wine known as Rosado using grapes like Tempranillo, Grenache and Merlot.


Australian Rosé wine is varied, like all Rosés, and is specific to region and varietal. Rosé wine in Australia has come a long way. The trend toward complexity and elegance in cooler climate whites and reds can also be seen in the Rosé produced. Tasmania and the Yarra Valley produce Rosés in a variety of styles while McLaren Vale and big-red Barossa deliver uncompromising full-bodied wines.

The future/summary

Rosé is fast losing its reputation for being a pretty but frivolous wine. Part of this may be the sheer variety on offer and that advanced knowledge can be rewarded with the right pick. The flexibility of Rosé means that wineries from every region in Australia can produce a variety. Winemakers can also write their names all over this Rosé with varietal choice, region and method and show off their skills.

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  • Rosé