What is rosé?
Rosé is a style of wine that melds the best of its red and white cousins together. Refreshing yet sophisticated, rosé has been embraced in recent years by millennials in Europe and North America. In France, for example, consumption of rosé recently overtook white–and we all know how well the French take their wine.
How does rosé get its colour?
Much like with a typical red wine, rosé takes its reddish hue from grape skins. Dark-skinned grapes are pressed, and the skins are left in contact with the juice for anywhere two to twenty hours. The length of this period will determine how dark the final product is–giving the winemaker a great degree of flexibility and control. In case of Rose this process last from minutes to a couple of hours.
Rosé can be as pale as to border with white, or it can be a vivid shade of near-purple. And at the heart of it, this is what sets rosé apart from a shiraz or a merlot; the degree of flexibility to create.
What is the difference between Italian and French rose wine?
Traditionally, French winemakers had a preference for the lighter, paler style of rosé. French winemakers have long taken their rosé seriously – did you know that it is forbidden by law to mix red and white together (a sloppy style of creating a rosé-type wine) in most of the country? Rosé falls into six colour categories in France's Provence region - with lighter types like "Peach," "Melon" (Cantoloupe), and "Redcurrant" some of the more popular types.Italian rosé (or rosato, as it is called in the country), is typically associated with darker-style rosés, but this isn't always the case. The Italian approach to rosé wine is innovative and experimental, with several regions (including Tuscany) using rosato base to create world-class dessert wines.
Italian sparkling rose
Above all, rosé is versatile. Almost any grape variety can be used in its production, and rosé can be made into still, semi-sparkling, or sparkling wine.
A number of popular Italian wines in this space are sparkling, and this makes them excellent pairs for typical summer fare and other types of wine. Typical offerings hit a rose-gold colour, and serve up sweet hints of dessert, strawberries, and lollies. The only issue with sparkling Italian wine is that once you start, it can be hard to stop.
The most popular iteration of Italian sparkling wine – prosecco – will soon be available in official Rose or Pink version.
According to the new regulations rosé Prosecco must be made with a Glera base and blended with 10%-15% Pinot Nero. The wines are allowed to go on sale at the earliest on 1 January following the harvest, and labels must be vintage dated with a minimum of 85% of the fruit coming from the stated vintage.
Rosé wine and food matching
Thanks in part to this versatility, there is a rosé to match almost every kind of dish. The best rosé wine is refreshing and a great companion to lighter summer offerings like seafood and vegetarian dishes. Yet at the same time, darker Italian-style rosés can pair excellently with moderately meaty dishes like charcuterie and grazing platters.
Those with a sweet tooth would do well to try out White Zinfandels and blushes. And for those looking to celebrate a big occasion or ever just a nice summer's day, sparkling red wine can be a unique culinary experience. Our rosé wine offers include some of the finest Italian sparkling wine on the market, check it out.
So where to start?
It's no secret that starting out with Italian wines can be daunting. In today's world, you're spoilt for choice. Some of the reliable entry-level rosés we offer include the Etna Rosato Calcagno Vini, Rosa del Paradiso and the Mabilla Rose Ippolito 1845. All sit around the midpoint in terms of colour, and are accessible beginner rosés for those who have had some exposure to the style, have liked what they've experienced, and are looking to delve even deeper into the style.
For those a little less certain, Aglianico Rosato Vetere’ San Salvatore provides an even lighter starting point. A delicate wine from the Campania region in Italy's south, this wine pairs particularly well with Mozzarella di Bufala, salads, fresh cheeses, tuna and salmon and chicken dishes.
You can find out a little more about the wine type here: