Pale and interesting rosés

Vineyards Rimauresq-Provence

Vineyards Rimauresq-Provence - Credit: Archant

The current weather forecast is such that if we like rosé wines we can’t wait for the sun to shine so we can enjoy a glass or two of these pink wines in the sunshine, whenever that might be.

Vineyards Rimauresq-Provence

Vineyards Rimauresq-Provence - Credit: Archant

Wine makers are also making serious rosé wines that have more distinctive refreshing and fragrant characteristics than some of the softer sweeter bland wines such as Anjou rose, that used to grace supermarket shelves or the sweet ‘blush’ wines from the USA.

There are three main ways to make rosé wines.

As the colour of a wine is contained in the grape skins the amount of contact that a fermenting wine has with the skins will determine the depth of colour in the finished wine.

The greater the length of time the greater the colour but also the greater the amount of tannin that is extracted at the same time as this is present in the skins too.

Thus it is a delicate balancing act to ensure that there is sufficient colour without too much tannin. The small amount of tannin present in the rosé wine means the wine is soft and delicate in style and can be enjoyed chilled without the presence of mouth-puckering tannins.

Certain rosés are made by draining off some of the fermenting must from tanks of red grapes during the early days of fermentation before much colour is extracted from the skins.

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In other cases a wine maker may want to concentrate the flavours and colour of his red wine and thus draw off some of the wine. This process is called saignee, literally bleeding the tank, and creates a light refreshing rosé.

The third method, that of blending red and white wine, is only allowed in the production of quality rosé sparkling wines by the traditional method as used in Champagne.

It is not permitted elsewhere as it produces inferior quality wines that are orange in colour.

In the traditional production of sparkling wines it is the base wines that are blended before secondary fermentation in bottle ensuring full integration of the two styles of wine.

Rosé Champagnes can be made wholly or partly from Pinot Noir and in addition to their pretty delicate pink appearance have an elegant slightly drier fruity taste than other Champagnes where the softer roundness is derived from the white grapes in the base wine.

Look out for English sparkling wines such as Henners and Nyetimber in Sussex and Tasmanian fizz such as that from Jansz, as these are all elegant light rosé wines.

Whether still or sparkling the trend seems to be towards paler pink wines like the delicate light salmon pink rosés from Provence such as Rimauresq Rosé Cru Classe Cotes de Provence for which the region has gained a high reputation.

Other wines include the softer fruity products of Costieres de Nimes, and the Sancerre roses from Loire Valley. Some Australian winemakers are showing the delicate side of their wines with light dry wines from the Grenache grape such as the Rogers and Rufus in the Barossa Valley. Great with mezé starters and fish dishes.

Moving further south, warmer climes produce delicious but deeper pink wines. Spanish rosés made from the Garnacha grape have a delicious creamy yet refreshing vibrant strawberry fruit flavour. Lovely, summery aperitifs and also perfect with tapas and paellas.

Many New World rosés such as those made from Merlot grapes in Chile, for example Norte Chico and Jeremy Borgs Rosalind Rosé from the Pinotage grape in South Africa are elegant yet bursting with ripe berry fruit flavours and are great with food.

This is English Wine Week so why not look out for some still and sparkling wines from the UK to try?