What is Rosé Wine?
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 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 started the trend and tend to sip it in the summer. Bordeaux Rosé wine was popular in the 1800's with high demand in Britain for paler varieties from the region. The Brits have also been enjoying success with English Rosé from their own vineyards.
Common Rosé Wine characteristics
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 skin colour of 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 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. As a result, winemakers across the country are responding with affordable wines of high quality.
Pairing food with Rosé Wine
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 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.
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 Rosé Wine 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. 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 of Rosé Wine
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 showing off their skills.