After enjoying full-bodied red wines during the cool weather months when they are naturally paired with hearty comfort foods, the arrival of summer and it’s hopefully warmer temperatures stirs us to transition to lighter fare and lighter wines.
After all, we dress seasonally, eat seasonally and, although it’s less talked about, we drink seasonally, too.
Refreshing and crisp white wines are definitely among my favourites to drink every summer but there is one style of wine that reminds me of summer vacations with their hot days and the need for cool refreshment: the rosé wine.
What do rosé wines taste like?
A rosé wine is a white wine that wishes it could be a red; it’s also a red wine that wishes it could be a white wine!
It has the acidity of a white wine and the fruit of a red wine so rosé really pleases palates of every type. Rosés have the red fruit aromas (strawberry, red currant) that appeal to the red wine drinker but also have the citrus notes (lemon, lime, grapefruit) that appeal to white wine drinkers.
How is rosé wine made?
There are a few methods but the most common is simply to squeeze the juice from the grapes and give that juice very brief contact with the skin from a few hours to a day at most.
Red wines get their colour from the juice coming into contact with the grape skin, known as the must, for a considerable period of time from several days even several weeks, sometimes. This gives your Cabernet Sauvignon plenty of dark colour that expands the taste and aromas during the fermentation. Rosé wines don’t go through a long period of exposure to the grape skin so the wine has just a hint of colour and is much more transparent.No matter what your taste though, I think we can all agree, a rosé just looks amazing. In the bottle or glass and even better on the tongue!
What about the colour?
You’ll find a lot of variance, from lightly orange to salmon to light strawberry red.
Does the colour influence the taste of the wine? Yes.
The colour of the wine comes from the tannin so the darker the rosé, the more tannic it will be. Tannin is a naturally occurring compound that is found in the skin, seeds, and stems of grapes. Tannin is complex, astringent and bitter thus helping grapes remain uneaten by birds and insects until they mature in both taste and colour, processes that coincide.
Remember that your rosé has been macerating with the skin only a few hours so the amount of tannin it contains is still very low. You might say that darker rosés appeal more to red wine drinkers while lighter rosés appeal to white wine drinkers. Since I enjoy drinking both white and red wines I like all rosés!
What food pair with rosé wine?
Julia Child once said “rosé can be served with anything”. With this advice from the goddess of cooking you may now eat any food with a rosé.
That said, I’m not sure that I would. My rosé pairing suggestions include but are not limited to: a gooey Brie cheese, a mushroom quiche; seafood lasagne; pulled pork or barbecue ribs; grilled vegetables, shrimp, pork chops or sausage; ratatouille; a blue cheese burger with the works; lemon roasted chicken; summer salads like shrimp and avocado salad; watermelon salad; Tabbouleh; strawberry and spinach salad; corn chowder; or a crawfish boil. You could also serve rosé as an apéritif with a charcuterie platter.
I suggest pairing La Petite Source with grilled meats without sauces, grilled vegetables, fresh salads. We always recommend this wine with a non-vinegar based salad dressings too. It’s an allrounder, it is perfect for family meals and barbecues as it suits most tastes. Its delicate but delightful!
My second suggestion is the Miss Valentine, 2020. This is a stunning rosé. It is just the most perfect drink for summer. It is fruity. It is elegant. But most of all it is delicious! It goes really well with pork, like Toulouse sausage, or a shellfish dish or indeed an aromatic chicken dish. As you can tell by this pairing, some rosés can stand up to foods with strong flavour profiles.
When should I drink my rosé wine?
You should drink your rosé within a couple of years. The current release is 2020 but some rosés that have a fair amount of body can benefit from one more year in the bottle. A 2019 rosé can be very nice but rosés older than that will have lost their fruitiness and bright acidity, making them dull, alcoholic fruit juice. So if someone gives you a ten year-old bottle of rosé, you now know what to do with it.
At what temperature should rosés be served?
Rosé is often served cold like a refreshing white wine. However, as the wine warms up – or the ice in your ice bucket grows less cold – you will suddenly find in your glass intense aromas of red and orangey fruits. Don’t serve rosé “vodka cold” or you will completely miss that wonderful olfactory experience. 10 – 14 degrees Celcius is an appropriate temperature at which to serve rosé.
Rosé wines are real and honestly crafted and, when sipped in spring and summer, make for an incredibly pleasing experience.