As wine lists and retail shelves once again are awash in shades of pink, everyone clamors for the seasonal favorite, rose wine. But as much as the average wine drinker might assume to really know rose, misconceptions abound. Some of the most widely accepted “truths” about rosé are not truths at all. By busting the most common rosé myths, oenophiles just might be looking through a new shade of rosé-colored glasses this year.
These six lesser-known rosé facts will have wine lovers drinking rosé in a whole new way this season.
Darker rosés aren’t automatically sweeter.
And neither are pale rosés necessarily drier. Many wine drinkers assume that color and sweetness correlate when it comes to rosé, but a deeper pink color just means that the wine has seen more grape skin contact or comes from a thickly-skinned variety. Since darker rosés often spend longer time in contact with grape skins, they may be fuller-bodied, more richly flavored, or more tannic, but most of the time, it would be impossible to guess the color of a rosé while blindfolded.
Rosé can age.
The spring and early summer months are often a mad rush to buy up the just-released rosé vintage. Bottles that aren’t sold by Labor Day can languish in cellars and stock rooms for months, causing a real problem for those who want to clear out their rosé selection to make room for the new vintage the following year. But rosé doesn’t go bad after one year on the market, and well-crafted ones can even get better with age. Some producers purposefully choose to age their rosés in the winery before release, allowing the wine to gain complexity, like the savory Clos Cibonne ‘Cuvée Tradition’ Tibouren from Provence.
Good quality white Zinfandel exists.
Everyone knows what the deal is with white Zinfandel. It’s sweet, cheap, and fit to be served over ice. By strict definition, however, white Zinfandel is just a lighter style of wine made from the red Zinfandel grape. Over the past few years, some intrepid vintners have decided to reclaim the white Zinfandel name, making dry, high-quality versions rosés from Zinfandel. Among the best of these white Zin producers are Turley Wine Cellars and The End of Nowhere.
Rosé is more than an aperitif.
Most are accustomed to sipping rosé solo as a pleasant, pre-meal option, but pink wines absolutely deserve a seat at the dinner table. Acidity is key to a good food-pairing wine, and rosés typically have plenty of it. Test the theory for yourself with a dedicated rosé pairing dinner. Start with a refreshing sparkling rosé, like the Loimer Brut Rosé from Austria, followed by a linear, still rosé like the Viña Leyda Rosé from Leyda Valley in Chile for lighter fare, finishing the meal off with a robust, structured option that could pair with main dishes, like the De Fermo ‘Le Cince’ Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.
Rosé isn’t just for warm weather months.
“Winter rosé” is not an oxymoron. Take advantage of the bottles leftover from summer months (and the discounts that are likely tacked on) to brighten up the heavy wine palate of winter. Try pairing a structured, earthy rosé, like Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo or Tavel, with some of the season’s rich dishes, like roasted chicken, beef stew, or cassoulet.
Rosé isn't always cheap and cheerful.
Part of what makes rosé great is its ability to make tasty, easy-drinking wines at everyday prices, but rosé isn’t always cheap and simple. Some rosé wines cost a pretty penny and would be more than worthy of a special occasion celebration. Take the Château d’Esclans ‘Garrus’ Rosé from Provence, which hovers around $100 per bottle, or the Dom Perignon Rosé Champagne, which can sell for over $300 (when it is even available in the first place).
By Courtney Schiessl
May 3, 2018
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