Is rosé wine made from pink-coloured grapes?
It would make sense if pink-coloured wines were made with pink-coloured grapes. Because there are pink-skinned grape varieties as well as the greater number of white and red varieties. But it isn’t that simple. Rosé wines – also known as rosato, rosado or blush wines – are made by leaving the red-coloured skins from red grapes within their colourless grape juice.
Because all grape juice is (almost) colourless – no matter what colour of grape it was pressed from. It is the addition of the red grape skins that add the colour – and the longer these skins are left within the juice then the more colour is leached out (these colouring chemicals are known as phenolics). So leave the skins in for just an hour and the lightest colour of rosé wine is produced (the French Provence style) while leaving them in for longer periods (up to 20 hours) produces the darker styles of rosé which can be orange-coloured or even light red.
According to EU regulations, rosé wine can only be made from red grapes. But where there are rules there are exceptions.
Cviček, a rosé wine made in the eastern European country of Slovenia, is made from a mixture of red and white grapes. But this isn’t the only permitted exception – rosé champagne can have up to 15 percent still red wine (usually Pinot Noir) added to the final sparkling white cuvée.
But what about those pink-coloured grapes that don’t make pink wine? They are generally used to make white wine. Leave out their dusky pink-coloured skins from the fermenting juice and you end up with white wines such as German Gewürztraminer (the “spicy” Traminer) and Pinot Gris (“grey” Pinot grapes have a grey-pink tinge).
Argentina grows its own pink-skinned grape called Cereza, which although is second-only to the better known Malbec in terms of area planted, is often mixed into grape blends to make cheaper wines. But you can try this cherry-cola tasting variety for yourself – The Whisky Exchange (better known for selling Scotch whisky) has Cereza Cara Sucia Durigutti 2019 for £11.95.
Top rosé wine reviews on wineuncorked.co.uk
Jules Cotes de Provence 2019 rosé
£10.38 Cambridge Wine Merchants
4 star rating
All the aromas and flavours of a white wine except it’s pale pink. Apple, pear, pineapple and almond greets your nose and then simpler flavours of apple and pear come next. There is a little creaminess among the thirst-quenching acidity. So close your eyes and drink as a white.
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence 2019 rosé
3 star rating
The pretty pink colours of this rose do not denote innocuous flavours – a distinctive collection of sweet-sour fruitiness means you’ll love or hate this wine. The aromas start off in a standard way with apples, almond essence and some vague floral notes. The flavours of lemon and lime sherbet have some honey thrown in – then add the strawberry, redcurrant and the almond essence and aspirin edge. That’s a whole gang of stuff going on.
Finca Manzanos Rioja Rosado 2019
£9.99 Virgin Wines
4 star rating
This is a rose wine made with the red grapes of Grenache and Tempranillo that go into a red Rioja. The result is a dark pink and robust rosé with aromas and flavours of sweet cherry, strawberry and lemon. This wine is best consumed the same day it is opened as the flavour becomes watery if kept.
Roodenberg 2019 rosé
4 star rating
This rose has the colour of a light red and the flavours of a floral and fruity white. Sweet and fruity aromas of honey melon, pineapple, peach and pear are met with creamy flavours with a floral complexity. A lot going on here.
Maison Sur le Littoral 2019 rosé
3 star rating
A pale pink rose with an aroma of lemon drops. Flavour is initially sweet with strawberry and raspberry coming through and then ending on a sour finish. All together a light wine with just enough sweet-sourness mixed with fruit to make this a food-friendly wine. Otherwise drink as an aperitif.
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