Hints and tips

Rosé: more than a simple pink drink!

Spring is here, and summer will arrive before we know it. Here's a little info on rosé, so you can make the most of enjoying one of warm weather's favourite beverages.

By Kaitlyn ROSS
2018/04/25, 03:39 PM

Yes way, rosé

We know you are wondering…why is rosé pink?! Well, before exploring the various ways to make rosé, it is necessary to know a little bit of history of how rosé came about. Rosé can easily be defined as a wine that has colour from grape skins, but not enough colour to be considered a red wine. Well, some of the first “red” wines ever created were actually pink in colour!

Ancient Greeks and Romans realized that the longer the grape skins soaked with with the juice, the darker the color and the more powerful the wine would be. Have you ever eaten a grape and felt a slight drying sensation in your mouth? That’s from the skin of the grape. Of course, it is part of the fruit’s character, but too much of it can result in an unpleasant—sometimes even bitter—taste. So, ancient Greeks and Romans stuck to making light and fruity reds...or should we say pinks?

Today, rosé is produced in almost all wine-making regions. There are multiple styles of rosé, from “vin de soif”—a thirst-quenching wine—to more complex and structured rosés that can be paired with intricate dishes.

From rose petal to raspberry: Why is rosé pink?

Most of the time, rosé is not a mere blend of red and white wine!

One of the perks of drinking rosé is swirling around the pretty pink liquid in your glass, but what do the different shades mean? Along with the grape varietal, the method plays a huge role in the colour. Let's explore how our favourite pink drink is made!

Mythbuster: You'll realize that the colour has nothing to do with the sweetness levels. Dry rosés can still be the darkest of pinks. Although the lightest shades of pink are currently trendy, we encourage you to try all range of colours!

Soak it

As stated before, wine gets its colour from the grape skins. So, maceration--a fancy word meaning the grape skins and juice are in contact with each other--simply means that the grapes are crushed, then the juice and the skins are left in a tank to soak together until a lovely shade of pink is achieved. This can last anywhere from 6 to 48 hours (whereas a red wine requires up to a few months of soaking), depending on whether the winemaker desires a pale or deep-coloured rosé. Then, the juice is taken from the tank and fermentation begins!

Press it

The lightest of them all! The red grapes are harvested and taken directly to the press, where they slowly break open. The juice and skins only macerate for a short amount of time (some juice doesn’t even come into contact with skins at all), so the product is an extremely pale pink! Direct press rosés are very light in style too, making them simply perfect for the beach or pool!

Bleed it (saignée)

The saignée method originally began as a way to make full-bodied red wine. The grapes are harvested, crushed, and put into a tank to macerate. Shortly into the process, the winemaker “bleeds” some of the juice out of the tank, so the juice in the tank will have even more contact with the skins, resulting in a more concentrated red wine. The juice that is bled from the tank can now be made into a rosé! Rosé de saignées are typically the darkest shades of pink and are the boldest in style; some winemakers even age them in oak barrels.

Blend it

Blending red and white wine seems like the most ideal way to make rosé, but Champagne is the only place allowed in all of France to use this method! Madame Clicquot of Veuve Cliquot Champagne was the first to produce a pretty pink fizz when she added red wine to white in 1818- 200 years ago! Blended rosés can go from light to heavy in style, depending on what the winemaker is aiming for.

Want to impress your friends over a few glasses of rosé? When it comes to colour, there are many things to say besides light pink and dark pink. Here's a colour scale to boost your vocab!: Flesh, onion skin, rose petal, candy pink, peach skin, salmon, blush pink, rose gold, raspberry, bright pink, old pink, magenta

Eat with pink

When it comes to rosé, your mind most likely drifts to a sunny day outside rather than the dinner table. However, if you match the right styles to the right dishes, you'll create a perfect harmony.

Light & refreshing rosés

Fresh and crisp rosés (many of them are made with the direct press method) are simply delightful on their own, but you can enjoy them with food, as well. As long as you keep the dishes simple as not to overpower the wine, these rosés can be paired pair with light pasta, chicken, shellfish, and sushi dishes. Try this light summer pea pasta!

Rosés from Provence typically fall under this category, but their zesty Provencal character allows them to be paired with a wider range of dishes. The key to complementing these wines is to stick to the region: serve Mediterranean food with this Mediterranean rosé! Seafood dishes seasoned with lots of olive oil, herbs, and spices pair wonderfully. Try the region’s specialty, bouillabaisse: Provencal fish stew flavoured with olive oil and aromatic herbs and spices such as saffron, thyme, orange peel, and fennel.

Due to the influence of the Mediterranean, you can almost taste the sea in Provencal rosés. Enjoy the mineral saltiness--sometimes referred to as sea spray--along with a platter of raw oysters.

Medium-bodied rosés

They’re still fresh and fruity, but their structure means they can be paired with dishes with slightly more character. Serve them with BBQ or a charcuterie plate along with olive tapenade. Super flavourful salads work well too, such as this one with griddled chicken, pineapple, lime, and cilantro. The Southern Rhône Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon typically make these style rosés.

Bold, fruity rosés

Of course, powerful rosés—such as rosé de saignées—can be paired with very flavourful dishes! Asian dishes such as this chicken Balti work wonderfully; don't hesitate to enjoy these rosés with spicy curries, as well. Many Cabernet and Syrah-based rosés are made in this style.