Rosé Wine Ratings, Reviews and Basics | Wine Enthusiast
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Wine Grape Varietals 101


What is Rosé

Rosé is wine that is, essentially, pink in color with pigment acquired from the skins or juice of red grapes. The actual color of rosé wine can range from deep magenta to onionskin to orange, depending on the methods used. Although rosé is produced all around the world, by far the most famous examples are from the south of France, notably in areas like Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon and Tavel in the Rhône Valley.

Historians have noted that the earliest red wines were likely pinker in color, due to how the wine was produced. In ancient Greece, winemakers often allowed the juice to sit in contact with its skin, a precursor to today’s modern rosés.

Around the world, there are different varieties used in the production of rosé. Some more common grapes are Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, particularly in southern France. But regional grapes define the varieties present in any given rosé. For instance, in France’s Loire Valley, rosé is produced from Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet Franc.

Italian rosé, or rosato, can be made from a number of indigenous varieties including Lambrusco, Negroamaro, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Spanish rosé, or rosado, is commonly made from Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Spain is also home to Txakoli, a lightly effervescent rosé produced from indigenous grapes like Hondarrabi Beltza.

Rosé winemaking can employ different methods. The saignée method involves bleeding off some of the skin-contact juice in order to concentrate flavor and color. Some rosés, particularly rosé Champagne, are the result of a blend of fermented white and red base wines.

The majority of rosés acquire their color and taste from contact between the juice and the pigmented skins. The amount of time can vary from a few hours for a lighter rosé to a couple of weeks for a more deeply hued wine, though different grapes may require varying degrees of time to get the desired results. Afterwards, the wine is drawn off the skins and fully fermented.

The aromas and flavors in this broad category of wine can change depending on the region and grapes used. The fruit tones can range from zesty citrus and tart berry tones to fuller-bodied melon and cherry notes. Accents like crushed herbs, garrigue and sea spray are also common in some styles.

In addition to France, Spain and Italy, notable regions for rosé are Austria, California, Germany, Oregon, New York, Portugal and Switzerland.


Pink wine, Rosado, Rosat, Rosato, Vin Gris

Rosé grapes are found in rose wines.

Examples of Rosé to Try