Chilled rosés are light, but still flavourful, and are ideal for sipping on a hot day. That’s why more rosé wines are sold during the summer than at any other time of the year. So you’d think picking up a reasonably priced and tasty bottle of rosé would be easy. Not so. Of the bottles tasted for this column, less than half came up to scratch.
So why are the odds stacked against picking up a good rosé? Because rosés aren’t that easy to make.
Grape juice from white and red grapes is green. Most of a wine’s flavour and colour comes not from the juice, but from the skins of the grapes. Add yeast into a vat of grape juice from a ‘red wine’ grape such as Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll end up with a white wine. To get a bit of colour into it, red grape skins need to be put into the brew.
The longer they are left in, the more colour and flavour is leached out. For a delicate rose-coloured wine like Rosé D’Anjou the grape skins are left in the wine for just a few hours. Leave the skins in for up to three days and even more of the grape’s colour and flavour will move into the wine – the resulting dark-coloured rosé could be mistaken for a light red.
Too little soaking will result in a flavourless wine while too much can result in ‘off’ aromas. The light strawberry flavours and raspberry aromas of the best rosés are due as much to the skill and judgment of the winemaker as the quality of the grapes.
PG Wine Reviews
Chateau la Croix Haute Côtes de Duras Rosé, France
Lightly flavoured rosé – nuances of redcurrant and almond.
The Society’s French Rosé 2016
£6.50 The Wine Society
You’d think this was a white wine from the flavour if you couldn’t see the colour as it tastes of pear and apple.
Torres Spanish Vina Sol Rosé 2016
£7.29 Waitrose Cellar
A really nice example of a rosé – light strawberry and apple flavours best enjoyed as it warms up from the chill of the fridge.
Mosaicos Spanish Garnacha Rosado 2016
£7.99 Virgin Wines
Light and creamy with a slight sweet edge. Strawberry flavour.
Chapel Down English Rosé 2015
Raspberry and strawberry sauce flavour. A little thin though.
Masserei Italian Nardo Rosato 2015
£11.99 Virgin Wines
Edging towards a red wine with its flavour of chocolate cake, strawberry and redcurrant.