What Is Rosé Wine?

First off, most rosé is not sweet. Let me add you to my list of rosé converts.

Rosé place settings
Rosé tastings at Austin Food + Wine Festival

When you think of rosé, what do you imagine? If you’re picturing a bottle of White Zinfandel or something sickeningly sweet, keep reading! There is so much more to rosé, and I’ve converted many rosé haters. Your summer wine game is about to level up.

So what is rosé exactly? Most typically it is NOT a blend of red and white wine, although that does happen. Here’s the first thing to know—all grape juice is clear, whether from white, red, or black grapes. Red wine doesn’t get its color from the juice but rather from contact with the grape skins as it ferments.

Jenn and Jess with rosé in Vegas
Rosé to go in Vegas with my friend Jess

So where does rosé get its color from? From the grape skins also! Most commonly, the grapes sit in the juice for less than a day, usually 2-20 hours, giving the wine a slight pink tint. The color is something that’s closely monitored by the winemaker to create the perfect shade, and then the grapes are separated from the juice to ferment into wine. This is known as the maceration method.

Sometimes winemakers will simply let off some juice at the start of a red wine’s journey, known as the Saignée method. It’s common in regions with great reds like Napa.

You can also mix red and white wines using the blending method. This method is rare with still rosés but less so for sparkling.

That being said, you can see how rosé wine can really be made in any style you want it! The region most famous for their rosé is Provence, France, which is along the Mediterranean coast near Nice and the French Riviera. As if we needed another reason to want to vacay there! Their rosés are known for being dry, pale in color with a light fruitiness and minerality and a nice medium acidic finish. These are my personal faves.

I LOVE a light, dry rosé, especially for pool or beachside sipping. The simplest rule of thumb when buying rosés you’re unfamiliar with is to choose one light in color. There are some delicious and dry rosés that are darker, but generally the light ones are a safer bet. Also avoid anything named “White X” that’s pink. These are the overly sweet rosés that kept you away from these other delicious rosés for too long!

Still skeptical? Try one of the rosés below to get a taste of the dry, light style rosé is lauded for before writing it off. Most liquor and wine stores will have 1 of these, or click the links to buy through Wine.com. I make no money off your purchase. I’m just spreading the rosé love!

3 Wines to Try Before Swearing Off Rosé

Miraval Rosé 2019
Côtes de Provence, France

Aix Rosé 2019
Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France

Bieler Père et Fils Rosé Sabine 2019
Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France

Published by Jenn Adams

Making wine approachable for your average girlfriend.

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