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All about Rosé wine
However you term it, whether it be blush or pink wine here in the UK, Rosado in Spain, or Rosato in Italy, it's all Rosé. Though the shade of pink, the sweetness, and the dryness of it can change from vineyard to vineyard, region to region and country to country.
The shades of pink can range from a soft, subtle hue, to a vibrant, hot pink, depending altogether on the grape used and how long the skins have been in contact with the juice. Pink or Rosé wines can be made sweet, off-dry or very dry style, with most European Rosés being on the very dry side.
It is true to say that most Rosé wine is made from the red grape varietal, and the most used of this strain are Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Zinfandel. These can be used solo or in a blend.
The Rosé wine varietals usually depend on the country from which the grapes originate, so those used in Spain may well be derived from Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes, while Italy may use more Sangiovese for their Rosatos. In the US it may be Cabernet, Merlot and Zinfandel.
So why all the variance in the shades of Rosé wine? Well normally the skins of a red grape are allowed to have brief contact with the grape juice, and the shorter time they are in contact the lighter will the end result be. More time the skins are in contact with the juice results in darker shades, and there can be some rather startling colours from an orangey-pink to a vivid hot pink.
Subtlety is what Rosé wines are all about, and on the whole their flavours tend to be more subtle than their red counterparts, regularly leaning towards tangs of strawberry, cherry, and raspberry with some citrus and watermelon on occasion.
People are always asking when to drink Rosé wine, and the “experts” usually say that spring and summer are the best times, served chilled with lighter foods and picnics rather than heavy meats. But if ever anyone stresses which wine should be drunk with whatever food please ignore them and drink whatever suits your palate. Whether it be with a steak or a salad, because as with any other drink, Rosé is just meant to be enjoyed.