A Rosé by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet… or Dry, or Off-Dry

Don’t hate on Rosé.  Rick Ross calls himself ‘Ricky Rozay’ for a reason and he’s a pretty badass dude.  How many grown men do you see wearing pink shirts and pants nowadays?  Rosé is currently the fastest expanding category of wine, growing at 10x the rate of other table wines according to a 2015 Nielsen report.  From bourgeois socialites to brosé bros, the “pank drank” is everywhere and for all the right reasons.

Rosé has the refreshing qualities of white wine but all the fruit and structure of red.  Contrary to popular belief, rosé is not always pink.  Some of our favorite rosés are more of a pale orange or copper color like the dry outer skin of an onion.

From bourgeois socialites to brosé bros, the “pank drank” is everywhere and for all the right reasons.

Winemakers have three different ways of producing this magical juice:

Maceration Method – red grapes are left to rest in their own juices, or macerate, for 2-20 hours to extract color.  For contrast, red wines can macerate for several months.

Saignée – French for ‘bled,’ this method happens early in the red wine making process when some of the juice is pumped off of the grapes into a new container to be made into rosé.  The remaining juice in the original tank becomes more concentrated.  This style is quite rare.

Blending – a small amount (5% of the total) of red wine is added to a vat of white wine to make it pink.  Rarely does this happen with quality still rosé wines.  Though for sparkling rosé production, this method is quite popular with even the most prestigious producers.

When it comes to deciding on the right rosé for personal consumption, consider two things: the region it’s from and the grape it’s made with.  Zinfandel rosé from sunny California is going to be sweet.  Commonly called White Zin, a half-drunk bottle of this rosé can probably be found in your mom’s fridge or that of one of her friends.  A pink made from French Grenache and Cinsault around Tavel (southern Rhône region) will be salmon colored and earthy with higher alcohol content and lower acidity.  Some of my favorite domestic rosés made from Pinot Noir are super light in color, high in acid and have hints of watermelon and crab apple.

When you next find yourself perusing the beer aisle of your local market, take a moment and consider buying a bottle of pink instead.  Trust us, you won’t be made fun of or shunned by the wider wine community.  If anyone gives you a sideways glance, just drop a Rick Ross lyric and walk away.

“Stretch limousine, sipping Rosé all alone
Double-headed monster with a mind of his own.”

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