DON'T JUDGE A WINE BY ITS COLOR

BY MAGGIE WALTERS

So what is rosé?

Somehow over the past few decades the misconception of rosé has been created. In America, the boom of blush wines in the 70s, carrying well over into the next 30 years, created the perception of sweetness in wines that display shades of pink.  Let's clear a few things up, because your next favorite wine could be out there, and you don't know that it exists yet!

First things first: how does wine get pink?  If we break down wine to the basics, its color has everything to do with how it’s made. Grapes are picked and then crushed to release the juices. If it's a red wine, the crushed grape skins and juice are poured into a fermentation vat, and then yeast is added. So in this vat full of juice, grape skins, and yeast the grape skins are adding pigment to the wine (the longer a wine sits with the skins, the more concentrated the color will be), and all the while the yeast is eating up the sugars in the juice (because, the byproduct of yeast consuming sugar is, in fact, alcohol). So to bring it full circle (thanks for sticking with me) the grape skins in a fermentation vat that is being made into "pink wine" are simply removed before the pigmentation of the wine becomes concentrated. Different grapes produce different shades of pink, and the wine maker can leave the skins in contact with the wine for shorter or longer periods, creating different shades of pink. The shade of pink does not have any correlation with sweetness.

Secondly, blush wine and rosé are not synonymous.  They start similarly (hence the same color), but have completely different end results.  When making blush wines the fermentation process is halted—the yeast is not allowed to eat all the sugar in the juice, just some of it.  This leaves sugar remaining in the wine, which in turn creates a sweet beverage. (It’s also why blush wines are lower in alcohol.)  Rosé wines are fermented completely dry, and there's no sugar left behind.  That's why they're higher in alcohol than blush wines.

So, what flavor profile should you expect from a bottle of rosé?  The primary flavor are red fruit (think berries), flowers, citrus, and melon, with a pleasant green flavor on the finish.  It's fresh, mouthwatering, and refreshing!  It pairs really well with a variety of foods and it cools you off on a hot day!  In France, rosés are a staple for spring and summer.  You'll often see rosés in restaurants as table wine during these warm months.

So get out there and try some refreshingly dry pink wine!  You'll thank yourself later for having a few go-to's (especially when Thanksgiving comes around and you need a wine that will pair well with your diverse feast).

--Maggie