By now you’ve seen “pink” wine everywhere. The Rosé craze has taken over since a couple of years ago. Rosé wines seem to be the new “In” wine among the younger and trendy crowds. Strangely, Rosé wines have been around for centuries, yet their popularity seems to be rising dramatically these days. So, let me explain a little about Rosé wines to better help you to order the next time you’re out. Now, most of these wines below do fall into the Rosé category, but I listed a couple of other pink wines to discuss as well.
Rosés – Let’s start with the name, Rosé is derived from the French “pink” or rose-colored. To be quite honest, a rosé can be made from any variety of red grapes (Gamay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, etc…). The rosé wine is made in the normal red wine processing way except that the grape skins are almost removed immediately (2 or 3 days). By allowing the skins to have this brief contact with the juice it will produce this pink color as opposed to its usual dark red color. Now, the only drawback to reducing the skin contact is that the wine itself will not have the usual full body or character of that particular red grape varietal. So, you will have a pink wine with the “essence” of the variety but light-bodied and slightly sweet. France has been producing rosés for centuries and their rosés are considered to be the finest in the world. Some of the French regions that make these fantastic rosés are Provence, Loire, Tavel, Beaujolais and Bordeaux. Some of the more unusual rosés to taste are Rosé d’Anjou (made with Malbec, Gamay, Groslot and Pinot d’Aunis grapes) and Cabernet d’Anjou (made with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes). So as you can see a rosé is a pink version of any red varietal.
Vin Gris – The actual definition of this wine is “gray wine”, but don’t let the translation fool you – this is a pink wine through and through. Vin Gris wine doesn’t use the normal rosé maceration method (soaking of grape skins, stems and seeds) with the grape skins having that small amount of contact to the juice. Instead, the grape is pressed immediately without the maceration (skin soaking time) time so the wine is a very pale pink color. This type of rosé is actually lighter than the typical rosé mentioned in the previous paragraph. Again some of the best Vin Gris comes from France and is made from grapes such as Cinsault, Gamay and Grenache.
Blush – A Blush wine is typically thought of as an American wine. Again, this method involves removing the red grape skins shortly after processing just as a rosé. The idea of “blush” was a way to sell red wines to Americans in the 1970’s with such words as “Blush” or adding “white” or “blanc” to the red variety grape such as White Zinfandel, Cabernet Blanc or White Merlot. Yes, this is where White Zinfandel comes into play. In some instances, a sweeter white grape juice such as Riesling, Muscat or Gewürtztraminer is added to the rosé to make it sweeter thus making it accessible to non-red wine drinkers. That is why White Zinfandel was so popular at first; it is a transition wine to those people not used to drinking wine. So, when people talk about White Zinfandel drinkers as drinking “grape juice”, this may be the reason. It’s just a Zinfandel rosé wine with a sweeter grape juice added. So no need to feel ashamed, it is still a “wine”.
Red or Pink Moscato – For those of you who love Moscato wines (and that seems to be millions of people and growing these past two years), here is a red variety to enjoy. Again, this is processed as a rosé wine but with extremely sweet flavors of honey and light red fruit. Again, like the White Zinfandel craze from the 1980’s, the Moscato fad is quickly picking up and by adding the red variety it helps to capitalize on this wine trend.
Pink or Rosé wines are the perfect warm weather wine. They go well with barbecued meats, seafood dishes, light salads, seasonal fruits and even pizza or Asian food. Pink wines even make great hostess gifts for Summer get-togethers. So, if you should be at a party this summer or venture out to eat and feel like something light to sip on, try a “pink” wine.