Domenico Winery + Osteria

glasses of rosé wine

Everything You Need to Know About Rosé Wine

The weather’s turning up, and you know what that means – rosé season is officially here! Time to hang outside in the sun and sip on some pretty pink juice. With so much rosé out there, having all you need to know about rosé wine will make your search for the perfect bottle – whether in a shop or restaurant menu – a lot simpler.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about rosé wine!

What is rosé, anyways?

Rosé wine is a red wine – technically speaking. It’s made just like red wine but with much less maceration time or skin contact. The skins of the grapes are what grant red wines their deeper color. When making rosé, winemakers simply let the skins rest for a shorter period, lending the wine a much lighter color.

There is another way to make rosé which is a little less common, called saignée. This is a French method meaning ‘to bleed.’ Now, before you get grossed out, do know that this is just referring to the winemaking approach. Winemakers ‘bleed off’ a portion of red wine before it becomes more intensely colored. Naturally, the saignée method results in rosé wines that are bolder and more structured in comparison to wines resulting from the more traditional way of making rosé.

Where does rosé come from?

Technically speaking, rosé wine has existed since the beginning of winemaking. Wines made thousands of years ago (let alone a few hundred years ago) saw little skin contact, making them very light in color.

Yet, if we are talking about when rosé itself became a specific practice, we have to look to Provence. This is where the practice of rosé winemaking became popular and is still arguably producing the most popular rosé wines in the world. It is where the Romans arrived, bringing winemaking practices that ultimately defined the entire French landscape, creating traditions preserved by monks and the Church.

What kinds of rosé are there?

There are many kinds of rosé out there. Why? Because rosé can be made with a multitude of grape types. Of course, some grapes are more conducive to producing rosé in terms of flavor and even color. What we mean by that is – there is a preference for rosé with that classic light, almost grapefruit pink color Provencal rosé most famously has. 

In Provence, you will find rosé made with Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, and Carignan grapes. However, rosé isn’t limited to these or France either. You will find rosé made all over the world. In Italy, it is called ‘rosato’, with regions like Chianti producing rosé wines with the famed grape Sangiovese. Stateside, you can find rosé from different wine regions. In California, you can even find French-style rosé like Domenico Winery’s Sirène – made with Syrah. It’s a little California, with a touch of sweetness, but still, all the much French, made with Syrah grapes and possessing that gorgeous grapefruit color.

What does rosé taste like?

With so many varieties out there, the flavor of rosé can vary. However, there are some general characteristics you will find in rosé wines.

The goal with rosé is to have fresh wine. That said, rosé typically has a refreshing acidity with very bright flavors. Think fruits like citrus and red berries (like raspberries or strawberries). Many rosé wines can have floral notes or even herbal or earthy undertones. All of these flavors depend on the grape type and origin.

Can you age rosé wine?

Rosé is not made for aging. The purpose of rosé wine is to have a youthful, ready-to-drink wine to enjoy stat. The aromas of rosé are typically those that will fade with time.

That said, there are always exceptions. Remember how we discussed how much rosé can vary due to grape types and where it’s made? This can influence the potential age of a rosé. This definitely wouldn’t make a rosé capable of aging 10+ years – perhaps a couple of years in bottle may show an evolution.

What should I eat with rosé?

Dry rosé wines (including sparklings) go exceptionally well with all of summer’s bounty of vegetables and fruits. It’s also quite heavenly with seafood – think grilled white fish, seafood pasta, or a big ole pot of muscles. You can even pair rosé with an epic cheese board, especially filled with fresher cheeses, like chèvre.

When it comes to sweeter rosé styles, you can easily make this the beverage centerpiece of a grill party. Sweeter rosés go excellently with BBQ, a dangerous pairing might we add.

Which rosé should you drink?

This question is most definitely a personal preference. There always remains the beloved Provencal rosé, which rarely disappoints with its fresh fruity character and beautiful color that lights up the glass.

Rosé is also an opportunity to experiment. There are other rosé producing zones in the world, such as Bardolino by the stunning Lago di Garda in Northern Italy. There, they produce Chiaretto, a delicious rosé style of wine made with local grape varieties.

With many wineries now producing rosé, you can try out some of your favorite wines in a different winemaking style. For example, Sangiovese rosé from Chianti or Champagne rosé. Yes, sparkling wines – like champagne – also come in rosé styles. And, it’s just as good as you think!

We hope that this guide to all you need to know about rosé wine helps you enjoy rosé season even more this year. And, if you have any wine questions, know the Domenico team is always here to help.