Rosé is light, served chilled and goes down very easily and, like white wine, is a bit on the dry side. Reversely, it has a bit more body than a white and typically sports nuances of lush berries on the palate, more like a red. This makes sense, of course, as Rosés are made from red wine grapes: Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Malbec -- the list goes on. Winemakers will leave the skins of the newly crushed grapes in the batch for up to 24 hours to impart a pink to reddish hue before the wine is fermented (a.k.a.: "maceration"). Rosés can be made from a single type of red grape or be a blend of many different types of grapes.
As I mentioned above, Rosés range in color -- from a very light salmon to garnet -- and this coloration also determines the body and flavor of the wine. And I'm a fan of them all. The light-bodied ones are fantastic on their own or can be paired with lighter flavored foods, like fish, salads and some cheeses (nothing too overpowering). Darker, more full-bodied Rosés can hold their own to salmon, meat dishes and some aged cheeses. I'd suggest any of them be paired with spicy Indian and Asian fare, as well as sushi.
Please, don't ever get Rosé and White Zinfandel (or "California Blush") confused -- they should never even be put in the same category. White Zin is sweet, made from only Zinfandel grapes and many of the brands out there tend to be low-quality, which doesn't help its reputation (read: not classy). But no shade to you White Zin drinkers out there, okay?
Alright, enough of the boring facts -- let's get to the goods. Here are some of the stellar Rosés I've had so far this year that I highly recommend:
2011 Bieler Pere et Fils “Sabine” Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix-En-Provence, France $10-12
2011 Charles & Charles Rosé, Columbia Valley, WA $9-11
2011 Francis Ford Coppola Winery Sofia Rosé, Monterey County, California $14-17
2011 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, Stellenbosch, South Africa $12-15
While delicious on its own, Rosé is also delightful when mixed into a cocktail. Here are some creative drinks on the web that utilize Rosé:
The Absolut Ruby Riviera (Absolut Vodka): Grapefruit vodka, Rosé, orange soda
The Black Rose punch (Chow.com): Blackberries, Rosé, vodka, lime juice, simple syrup
Rosé Berry Bliss punch (About.com Cocktails): Rosé, blueberries, pink lemonade, lemon-lime soda
Rosé Crush (Cosmopolitan UK): Crushed ice, Rosé, orange and raspberry juices, mint
So whether you're enjoying a glass while entertaining friends for a summer fête or downing a whole bottle yourself while watching a RuPaul's Drag Race marathon (don't judge), Rosé is the perfect wine pick for spring, summer and just about any occasion.
I hope everyone is enjoying some wonderful beverages on this holiest of holidays...Mother's Day.
Blushing rosé and sloshing about,