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Guide to Rosé Wine

A word to the wise: not all rosé wines  are created equal.  Though you might think that just because a certain wine is pink in colour, it will therefore be lightweight and insipid, you might want to do a bit more research.  It is true that such wines tend traditionally to be scoffed at by aficionados: after World War II, sweeter rosés were quite trendy and eventually evolved into blush wine , which in turn gave birth to the infamous and profoundly sweet White Zinfandel  of the 1970s.  However, rosés in recent years are emerging as major players in the minds of oenophiles everywhere: winemakers are experimenting with different grape varieties and seeking to create bold and dry flavours that are structured and complex.  In fact, these wines are becoming so well received that, in France, rosés are now outselling white wines.  If they're good enough for the wine-minded French, aren't you the least bit curious?

How They're Made

Rosé wines can be made in several different ways.  One method is to let the skins of red grapes remain in contact with the juice for a short period of time, then discarded (when red wine is made, the skins are left in contact throughout the fermentation process).  The longer a period of time the skins have contact with the juice, the more tannic the flavour, and the more intense the final colour of the wine will be.  A second method of production is referred to as saignée, or bleeding.  During this process, the rosé wine is actually a by-product of an enhanced red wine: in order to impart more tannin and colour to the red, some pink juice is removed from the must at an early stage and then fermented separately.  In this manner, the red wine is improved since the ratio of skin to juice is increased, and some very fine rosés are made this way.

Popular Rosé Varietals

Shiraz 

Tempranillo 

Cabernet 

Pinot Noir 

Grenache 

Tips for Enjoying

  • Since their crisp and refreshing notes are best displayed at chilled temperatures, rosé wines are an amiable choice for warmer weather.
  • Serve these wines within two years or the fruit flavours will be lost.
  • These complement poultry, seafood, or spicy dishes quite well.

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