There are so many kinds of rosé, and yet some still think it’s a mundane wine. We’re not even really saying it’s a complicated wine, just that you can find it in a million different shades and pick whichever you like best. Some prefer fruity, some prefer floral. Some go crazy for sweeter rosé, and for some, it’s only best dry. Some only drink bubbly rosé, as it’s the most elegant expression of the Classic Method. You also might want to know that if you try a sparkling rosé you really like, the same winery will probably have another version in white that you’d love. This is because, as we know, making rosé can be much harder than making red or white wines.
To sum it up, everyone in the world can love rosé!
“Meh, I’ve never been that into it!”
I thought you’d say that! I also think I know why. You still haven’t found your rosé. When you talk about rosé, it’s really the same as talking about red or white. Clearly not every single one of each will be right for you, and you eventually learn to find the ones you enjoy. Why not try that method in pink?
“Yes yes, but how do I try them all? I don’t know where to start.”
You’re a lucky one, as IntoTheRosé has the answers for you right here. In this article, we wanted to create a mini almanac- a pocket guide that summarizes different varieties, so you’ll know what to look for.
Let me just do a short but very important preamble:
You already know there are multiple ways to make rosé. Every method has a way of influencing the final product in the bottle. Rosé made via saignée, for example, will have more body to it than wine made from direct pressing. Additionally, the shorter the maceration period, the lighter the shade of rosé. Yeasts play a big part in the characteristics of the wine, but the grapes are obviously the heart of soul of it.
If you downloaded the guide Simply Rosé, you’ve already gotten some indication about which characteristics and which wines might be your new favorite. Now, let’s check out some of the traits of more famous rosés.
Sangiovese is the most cultivated grapevine in Italy. For example, Brunello di Montalcino is made completely from Sangiovese grapes, while Chianti and Chianti Classico must contain at least 80% Sangiovese. At Italia in Rosa we had the pleasure of tasting Rosae Maris, certain Tuscan rosés obtained from Sangiovese. Though we know that this type of grape is most famous for the red wine it produces, we just want to remind our readers that it makes an excellent rosé. Even setting aside the method they use, the rosé comes with a nice acidity and notes of strawberry.
Tempranillo is the most common grapevine used in Spain, mostly to make red wine in the Rioja region. In recent years though, its rosé version has starting gaining popularity. Rosés from Tempranillo are pale, characterized by their herbaceous and spiced notes and nice consistency.
Cabernet is a quite internationally-used vine, but its natural habitat is in France. Surely you’ve tried it in some red wines, as it’s used really often for blends. But have you ever tried it in pink? Rosés from Cabernet Sauvignon have an intense color, and aromas that characterize the wine: red fruit, spices, bell pepper, very acidic mouthfeel and a nice freshness.
Don’t be fooled by the name. They call it White Zinfandel, but it’s definitely pink. It’s the most popular rosé in the United States. A large percentage of Zinfandel grapes are turned into rosé. Most White Zinfandel presents aromas of strawberry and powdered sugar, as the sweetness is its strongsuit.
PINOT NOIR ROSÉ
“Welcome to wine emotion,” said Roberto Cipresso in his book “The Romance of Wine.” Pinot Noir is an elegant wine, and at the same time, difficult to make. The grape is sensitive to external irritants like the weather. In its rosé version, Pinot Noir is fresh and soft. When in sparkling form, the aromas of red berries are rendered even stronger, and never lose their delicate character.
Montepulciano and Abruzzo, for this purpose, are basically the same thing. In the wine region of Montepulciano, they use a typical Abruzzo method to make rosé: Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. In the dialect of Abruzzo, “cerasuolo” means “cherry,” quite directly because the color of the wines made here have a fresh cherry shade. These are important and very structured rosés, with a nice balance and strong notes of red fruit.
The main vine from Salento. It literally means “black,” because of its very dark color, and “bitter,” because it’s a very strong and alcoholic result. From Negroamaro they produce wines with rich flavors of dark fruit and a backend aroma of dried herbs and licorice. In Salento it’s often turned into wine alongside Malvasia Nera, which adds a softness. A blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera was the first ever rosé wine bottled in Italy. We’re talking about Five Roses by Leone de Castris.
We’re in the north of Puglia, and the Bombino Nero comes from the only DOCG in Puglia dedicated to rosé: Castel Del Monte Bombino Nero DOCG. It’s particularly suited to produce rosé because because of it’s slow ripening process and high concentration of acid and sugar. The wines from Bombino Nero are delicate and versatile.
This is the vine most utilized by the Valtenèsi Chiaretto DOC, the Lombardia shore of Lake Garda. The Chiaretto is said to be “one night wine,” because once the grapes are picked, they’re left with their peels for a night to obtain their typical light pink color. These rosés present with very distinct florals on the nose. The notes are delicate and fresh, perfect for before dinner.
On the opposite shore of Lake Garda, in the Veneto region, the Corvina from Verona is the base from which one obtains Chiaretto Bardolino. The faint color is similar to that of Groppello, but it distinguishes itself from the other sensory characteristics. Easy to drink, Bardolino Chiaretto has aromas of citrus and florals that return in the flavor. Excellent when paired with a risotto.
Let’s take an obligatory visit to France. Here we’ll discuss two regions you have to know if we’re going to talk about rosé.
The other side of French rosé. We’re not in Provence but in the south by Rhone Valley. In Tavel they only make rosé, and they’re very suited to age well. The main grapes used are Grenache and Cinsault, which make rich wines with a lower alcohol content. I’d even want to classify them as more of a red wine, if not for their salmon-pink color. The thing that makes them unique is their recognizable structure in the bottle.
And here we are, the region that’s most infatuated with rosé, most famous for rosé, and consumes the most rosé. There are multiple regions within Provence where they make it, and each region has its own characteristics. The main vines utilized are Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Mourvedrè. Rosé is a very serious topic around here; especially the method, which can only be direct pressing or brief maceration- nothing else. The wines have a good fresh quality, they’re aromatic, and their color is very light. Here, they produce some of the most famous rosés in the world, like Whispering Angel and Miraval.