This battle has been waged for a number of years in the court of public opinion, and the tide has been turning. Perception of pink wine in America was relegated to the sugary, junky White Zinfandel put out by Beringer, Woodbridge and others. Now don't get me wrong, if Grandma or Aunt Betsy wants to drink that stuff, more power to them! But don't let White Zinfandel "color" your own understanding of the rosé wine category. People are beginning to understand that there is some real wine out there that is not only pretty cheap, but also refreshing and delicious!
What Gives Rosé Wine Its Pink Color?
Rosé can technically be made from any red grape. After red-skinned grapes are crushed, the juice remains in contact with the skins for a short period of two to three days to acquire the pinkish hue. For normal red wine, skin-contact is maintained throughout the fermentation process, but when making rosé, the skins are discarded after the grapes are pressed. Since skins are responsible for tannins in addition to color, rosé wines are more similar to white wines than reds in their weight, flavor profile and mouthfeel.
What Rosé Should I Buy?
Look for wines from Provence, made from Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault. Spain has also been coming onto the scene with rose made from Garnacha and even Tempranillo. As Spring turns into Summer, you'll find plenty of rosé at your local shop for under $12 and even under $8. The first rosé to get me excited in 2009 was the Domaine de Laure that I tasted in the video accompanying this article. I hope you find some good rose this year. Please don't be afraid to explore and expand your palate!
Gary Vaynerchuk is the host of Wine Library TV.com.