Like red and white wine, rosé refers to a broad category of incredible wines with unique flavors and characteristics. They also come in many shades, ranging from pale pink to pinkish-yellow to darker varieties that nearly resemble red wines.
There are a lot of misconceptions about rosé. One of the most common myths is that winemakers blend red and white wines to produce them. In truth, most use one or more red varieties. Since the juice from nearly all grapes is clear, the final color is the result both of the type of grape varietal used and the length of time the red grape skins remain in contact with the juice during production.
There’s also a misconception that all rosé wines are sweet. While this may be true of some, the most common types of rosé wines are dry. They also come in numerous flavor profiles, ranging from light and delicate to rich and savory. And, contrary to popular belief, you can enjoy these incredible wines year-round, not only during the summer months.
Have you been curious about exploring the incredible world of rosé? Or have you already tried one or two rosé wine varieties but want to expand your horizons? Here, we’ve compiled a list of just some of our favorites for you to consider for your next purchase.
Pinot Noir Rosé
Pinot Noir grapes are among the most sensitive and temperamental varieties grown; they don’t fare well in extreme weather conditions — but they make incredible wines! The grapes give their namesake rosé wines a bright acidity and subtle notes of crabapple, strawberries, and watermelon. They also produce the rose petal pink hue that most people imagine when they think of rosé wine.
While Pinot Noir rosé may be delicate and fruity, that doesn’t mean it’s sweet. They’re actually among the driest rosé varieties available. It’s a delightful accompaniment to fresh goat cheese salad, crab, or thyme-roasted chicken.
Syrah rosés are a unique experience. They are deeper in color than many other rosés and feature a quirky flavor profile consisting of strawberries, cherries, white pepper, and green olive. They’re bold and rich, not traits most people associate with rosé. They’re also best served just above fridge temperatures rather than chilled.
So, what types of foods do you serve with these unusual rosé wines? Pepperoni pizza, hearty chili, cured meats, or paella all make excellent choices.
Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
Cabernet Sauvignon rosés are another deeper red variety. Their flavors — which include black currant, cherry, green bell pepper, and pepper spice — are similar to those of the red wines these grapes produce. The main difference between these rosés and reds is that rosés have more acidity - these wines are crisp and refreshing with a pleasing sweet-savory finish.
Among their best food pairing options, these wines go nicely with poached salmon, seared tuna steaks, and many different varieties of sushi.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Grenache rosés is their beautiful salmon-pink hue. The next is their intense fruity aroma — a pleasant mix of ripe strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and pomegranate. There’s also a slight hint of hibiscus. While the fruity and floral notes of Grenache rosé give the wine a perceptible sweetness, it’s actually a fairly dry wine. It also has a bright acidity to it.
Grenache rosé wine works well alongside seafood, grilled meats, and mixed salads. It’s also a great complement to Mediterranean fare and dishes featuring aromatic spices like Moroccan or Indian food.
To this day, France remains one of the top wine-producing countries in the world (second only to Italy). It features numerous wine regions renowned for their unique red and white varieties. These same regions also produce some of the world’s top rosés. Each French wine region uses different grape varietals or blends, creating vastly different rosé wine flavor profiles. Like French reds and whites, these varieties showcase the nuances of each region’s unique terroir.
Let’s take a closer look at a couple of France’s most popular rosé-producing regions:
Some of France’s top rosé wines come from Provence. Winemakers in this southeastern region typically use a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, and Syrah grapes. They’re also incredibly versatile, just as at home on your patio dining table as at a formal wedding.
Provence rosés are fruity and a little floral, featuring notes of strawberries, fresh-cut watermelon, and rose petals. They also have a bit of salty minerality. They pair wonderfully with vegetables, light salads, shellfish, and even an excellent, juicy burger.
Rhône Valley Rosé
The Rhône Valley wine region sits in mid to southern France and runs along the banks of the Rhône River, extending from the Beaujolais region to the Mediterranean Sea. Many of the region’s rosés fall under the region’s largest AOC — Cotes du Rhône.
Cotes du Rhône rosé wines are fruit-forward and dry, and they are based on many of the same grapes as Provence rosé varieties. Pair a glass of this rosé with grilled vegetables, grilled lamb chops, or a sun-dried tomato and arugula pizza.
Explore the World of Rosé Wine Varieties
The world of rosé is vast and diverse. Contrary to what many people believe, it isn’t a category of cheap, super-sweet wine that’s only good for summertime consumption. Winemakers in the US, France, and other countries worldwide use the same care and precision to produce high-quality rosés that they use to create their best red and white wines. Most are dry, and while they may be perfect for summertime drinking, they’re great all year round.
Whether you’ve never tried rosé before or have only ever tried one or two varieties, this category of wine has so much to offer, and JJ Buckley Fine Wines has a broad selection of varieties to explore. If you aren’t sure where to start, our experienced wine specialists can help. Check out our selection of rosés — and other wines — today!