5 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Rosé Wines

Adelsheim Rosé

Spring is in the air and that means Rosé wine season is here. Rosé has been rapidly gaining in popularity and is one of our summertime favorites. Here are five things you probably didn't know about Rosé:

1. Rosé may be the world’s oldest style of wine.

The earliest evidence of winemaking dates back 6,000 years ago, but white wine grapes are the result of genetic mutations in red grapes that began to occur only about 3,000 years ago. Since squeezing the juice out of grapes is one of the easiest ways to make wine, and squeezing red wine grapes makes the juice copper to pink-colored, it is very likely the first wines were Rosés!


2. The majority of Rosé wines made throughout the world are dry wines. 

Many Americans associate Rosé wines with sweet White Zinfandel, but very few Rosé wines are actually sweet or off-dry. White Zinfandel was created in the 1970s when Bob Trinchero at Sutter Home discovered that his yeast died before fermentation was complete while he was trying to make a dry Zinfandel Rosé. Since it tasted good, they labeled and sold the sweet pink wine as “White Zinfandel” and it became an American sensation. In Europe, virtually all Rosé wines are fermented completely dry and are traditionally paired with seafood dishes that complement the fresh fruit flavors and bright acidity of Rosé. Today, many wine professionals refer to sweet pink wines as “Blush wines” to distinguish them from dry Rosé wines.


3. Rosé wines have some aging potential. 

Since Rosé wines get their color from the juice coming in contact with the grape skins, the juice will also pick up some of the tannins found in the grape skins. Rosé wines are typically high in acidity too. Both tannins and acids are antioxidants that protect the more delicate flavor and aromatic compounds in Rosé wines from oxidizing too quickly which will dull their flavor. While they are not likely to age as long as red wines, some Rosés can develop more character for as long as five years in proper storage conditions.


4. Rosé wines can only be made using three techniques. 

The oldest method is called Direct Press where red wine grapes are pressed like white wine grapes and the brief contact the juice has with the skins produces a pale copper color. Another common method is called Limited Skin Contact where red grapes are crushed and put into a large vat for anywhere from two to twelve hours. Then, all of the juice is removed and fermented like white wine, producing wines ranging from a medium pink to a deep pink hue. The third way is called Saignée (pronounced “SAHN-yay” which means “to bleed” in French) where some juice from a vat that will eventually become red wine is removed or “bled” after just a few hours of skin contact and then fermented like white wine, usually producing wines with a medium pink hue. At Adelsheim, we use both the Direct Press and Saignée methods, often blended together, to make our Rosé wines.


5. Rosé wines are (almost) never made by adding a red wine to white wine.

In fact, there are laws in Europe prohibiting adding red wine to white wine to create a Rosé-colored wine. There is one exception; Rosé Champagne is made by adding a small amount of red wine, usually Pinot noir, to the bottle to make the bubbly wine pink.

Somm Tip: 

Enjoy your Rosé relatively cold, between 45ºF and 50ºF, by itself or paired with grilled seafood, burgers, BBQ baby back ribs or pulled pork sandwiches.

Kristen Flemington