August 14th is right around the corner and that means it is time for International Rosé Day! Everyone’s favorite summer sipper seems to be growing in popularity every year, and many producers and consumers are becoming bolder in what they are willing to try. Rosé is no longer ruled over by the sweet White Zinfandel of days gone-by; it has become a complex wine ranging from light and crisp to intense, moody, and gamey. Be prepared for International Rosé Day this year with our guide to this most refreshing style of wine.
How is Rosé Made?
The idea that all it takes to produce rosé is a mixing of red and white wines is a common misconception. While it does happen in Champagne, virtually no other region in the world makes “blush” (another name for pink wine) in this manner. It is possible to make a rosé with any red grape, but it cannot be done with white grapes.
Rosé production is an interesting hybrid of red and white winemaking. When crafting a red wine, care is taken to ensure that the must (fermenting grape juice) has ample contact with the skins. This allows for extraction of color and flavor from the skins into the wine. However, white winemaking generally involves avoiding skin contact at all costs. Crafting a rosé utilizes limited skin contact during the early stages of winemaking. This is typically done by separating all of the must (freshly pressed new wine) from the skins.
Rosé Throughout Time
Rosé may very well be the oldest style of wine on the planet. Because ancient winemakers lacked the knowledge, technology, and experience that we have today, extraction was always an issue. Grapes were harvested from vines growing wild in the forest, creating blends with a range of grape varietals. A lack of temperature control resulted in hot fermentations while ineffective technology limited how much they could extract from the grapes (foot stomping only gets you so far)! This means that there is a very good chance that the ancient people of the Mediterranean, China, and the Middle East have all been enjoying rosé for thousands of years.
The years following World War II saw a drastic shift in the rosé market. It was during this time that two Portuguese winemakers created a set of sweet, slightly sparkling blush colored wines. The production of this style of rosé began a 50 year trend for blush wines. The wines, called Mateus and Lancers, dominated the market across the United States and Europe, quickly gaining many imitators. It became so popular during the second half of the 20th century that it was virtually impossible to find a dry rosé.
Rosé today is one of the most popular expressions of wine. It is made in a multitude of styles by thousands of producers with an incalculable variety of grape varietals. While sweeter examples still maintain a substantial portion of the market, dry rosé is now the preferred style in most major wine consuming countries.
Pairing with Rosé
Perhaps because of its dual nature, pairing rosé with food can be incredibly easy, versatile, and rewarding. One of the greatest uses of blush wine in pairing is in balancing out bitter greens. It is often quite difficult to find a good pairing for roasted asparagus, sautéed brussel sprouts, or kale. The acid found in dry rosé, along with its fruity profile, creates balance with cooked greens, resulting in a delightful flavor and mouthfeel. Barbecue is another great option when pairing with pink wine, especially with choosing a bolder styles. Rosé, especially when crafted using bolder grapes such as Mourvèdre or Syrah, can be intriguingly gamey and rich, working wonders with dishes like barbecue chicken and short ribs.
Our 2018 International Rosé Day Top Pick
With so much to love about the style, we understand how easy it is to get lost in the pandemonium. That is why Firstleaf has found the perfect bottle for you to enjoy for International Rosé Day 2018. Vintage Wine Works has produced an incredible NV Rosé, ideal for food and wine pairing, or to drink on its own. The wine is made using Sangiovese grapes and has a crisp and exuberant bouquet of honeydew melon, strawberries, and bright red florals. Refreshing on the palate, roses and stone fruit carry through well on the red berry finish.
Now that you know the backstory of rosé, it is time to enjoy. Pull out the barbecue and reach into the fridge this Tuesday as August 14th, 2018 is going to be the best International Rosé Day yet.