Despite a massive jump in popularity over the past year, rosé wines are still widely misunderstood. If they aren’t being desecrated with gummy bears or some other Pinterest shenanigans (yes, that’s a thing,) rosé wines are misconstrued. As Dry. Or Sweet. Or, dare I say it, a white zinfandel.
So why the sudden bump in popularity? There are a couple of real reasons for this, not the least of which being the attractive price point that a rosé usually adorns.
- Millennial Pink – the tl;dr on Millenial Pink is that it’s a new neutral, and guess what? Rosé fits this color scheme wonderfully.
- Rosés are approachable. With an average price of $10.00 rosé is…
- Inexpensive- which everyone loves, and makes it a great summer pick!
So, what the heck is the difference is between white zinfandel and rosé wines? After all, they look almost identical in color, and weren’t it for little old ladies and some budget wineries, you may have had no idea there were different varieties of pink wine!
The main difference between a white zin, a blush and a rosé is the quality and types of grapes used to make the wine. Maybe more helpfully, the white zin, blush and rosé have one thing in common: these wines are all colored with grape skins.
Without getting way too detailed, the color of any wine, including pink ones, can be accomplished by using the grape skins.
The “pink” comes from the skins coming into contact with the “macerating” wine, which is busy getting delicious in a barrel.
Wine makers have been experimenting with grapes and colors for hundreds of years. This “coloring” is called “sangeé” or “bled” in French. When a shortage of white wine grapes occurred in 1975, Sutter Home Vineyards used a tried and true method of using red wine grapes to make white wine, and the batch accidentally got “stuck” in “fermentation.”
As a result, this accident – in all of its pink prettiness, was bottled and upon tasting, the vineyard owner decided he enjoyed the taste of his accidental by-product.
With that little story in consideration, we can acknowledge that winemakers throughout the centuries used supply, demand and their crop to create some fabulous things out of necessity. We know that rosé wines are colored by the grape skins (the process is called maceration) and those skins do more than just color up the wine!
Have you ever heard that wine is good for you? Articles will note that drinking a glass of wine, specifically red wine, can be healthy for a person, and they tell you it’s good for your heart, your life span, etc. But why, exactly? The answer is that a necessary element to our bodies natural free radical conquerers: antioxidants. Any wine has antioxidants, however, some wines have more than others. During this maceration process, when the skins of the grapes come into contact with the wine being fermented, the wine becomes enriched with all the nutrients the grape skins have to offer (haven’t you ever been told the skin of most fruit and vegetables is where the nutrients are?)
This antioxidants aren’t added for our health, either! Although it’s a wonderful, natural benefit to the process of winemaking, the maceration/incorporation of wine skins into wine is namely for preservative reasons. When a wine utilizes the saigneé process, antioxidants allow a given wine a much longer shelf life, as they prevent further oxidation of the wine.
So what does this have to do with the color pink?
Everything. The last time you went searching through (Cranberry Liquors’) wines, did you notice the varying shades of pink as you scanned the rosés?
Because of the wine skins, because Europe calls any pink wine a rosé, rosés are often only properly suggested by someone who has tried it, or Googled it, first. More often than not I will have a customer ask me for my suggestion when it comes to a “dry” or a “sweeter” rosé.
How about upon the label, did you see the words “Cote De Rhone”?
Customers know that a Cote de Rhone is drier, and lighter in color, and ask me whether or not there is a correlation between the two variables.
The answer: Not really, but almost! In a previous blog, we mentioned that the largest wine exporters often have to follow semi-ridiculous rules, some of which are laws regarding a wine’s classification by village/region. Often times, a white wine from Cote de Rhone, a region of France, will be drier. With that said, we know:
- Rosés can be a hodge-podge – they are not created by one specific varietal of grape, nor are they necessarily created from a single grape at all!
- Rosés are colored by a process wherein the skins of a grape are in contact with the fermenting wine.
- Europe calls all the pink stuff “rosé” – no white zins, no “blush wines,” no further definition by sugar level or any other factor, for that matter.
- Rosés can be further “colored” or “dyed” by this bleeding process, thereby negating any real correlation between coloring and “taste,” let alone other definitive components of a “strict” varietal like a moscato, for instance, which is made from moscato grapes.
- So how do you know which rosé you would like?
As I mentioned before, the region from which the rosé originates is likely your best bet when searching with no Cranberry Liquor guidance. However, if you happen to make your way into Cranberry Liquors, we are happy to determine what you would like by virtue of what you already know you like!
As a starting point, we’ve selected a few of our favorites off our impressive tower of rosés to expound upon for our wonderfully loyal patrons.
What do you do with what has been called the “World’s Greatest Rosé”? Well, you definitely don’t make wine soaked gummi bears. Some might suggest you drink it. From the famous region of “Provence,” Whispering Angel has been slated as the “ World’s Greatest Rosé,” but if you haven’t tried the next wines on this list, I definitely suggest expanding your horizons! At $21.99, it isn’t insanely expensive, but we can definitely point to less expensive rosé wines. However, none of which are “The World’s Greatest”…
Perhaps a bit more budget friendly, and only slightly less impressive is the Chateau Montaud – this rosé was massively successful last season, and I expect even more of a following this year. The traditional rosé shaped bottle lures you in, but the taste, at an excellent price, will keep you coming back all summer.
Oh! Also, new to this year, Chateau Montaud is stepping their game up with a magnum size bottle, so you don’t pay for twice the packaging, and so you look bitchin’ rolling up to your friend’s party with a bottle that screams “Party Sized”. This is a drier rosé, and the producer is quoted as saying
“A well-defined core of dried cherry, herb and mineral flavors features hints of white pepper that linger on the crisp finish. Drink now.”
Just so you know, there is no white zinfandel on this earth that could ever be described as such.
Get Chateau Montaud for $11.99 (750ML) or $22.99 for the 1.5 ML mag size.
New this year and, in my opinion, one of the most promising is the “La Porte du Caillou” Sancerre rosé – described as “vibrant” and “very juicy” as well as “refreshing,” I cannot wait to try this Sancerre rosé as they suggest to serve it – as an aperitif, or with Asian food. Yes, and yes, please. At $17.99, this French rosé is not cheap, or even inexpensive. But judging by the distributor, it’s reviews, and every website I’ve researched thus far, it is ☆☆☆☆☆ across the board.
Last, and certainly not least, we want to know YOUR favorite rosés. Any pink wines that we don’t get in Massachusetts? Are you more of an “All Day” or a “No Way” Rosé?
tl;dr: Roses are as good as the grapes that make them. Don’t know what to get? Don’t gauge by color! Rather, pick a winery or a varietal you know you like and go from there!
Really tl;dr: Shop at Cranberry Liquors! We can help you find the rose we know you’ll love.