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Springtime Guide to Rose Wine

Springtime Guide to Rose Wine

Spring is right around the corner, which means it’s almost rosé season! Although rosé wine is delicious all year long, it pairs perfectly with long spring and summer days. As the weather begins to warm, a cool, crisp rosé wine offers a lovely accompaniment to afternoons in the backyard, light dinners, and chatting with friends on the porch. Whether you prefer sweet rosé wine or dry rosé wine, the clean, fresh appeal of the wine charms nearly everyone.

While rosé has a long tradition in France, specifically Provence, there are delicious rosé wines from all over the globe. Typically, rosé wine is released and drank when it’s young, with little or no aging, often around one year after harvest.

Read on for everything you need to know to pick out the best bottle of rosé wine for you this spring!

Most rosé wine is fermented in stainless steel, which keeps the light, fresh flavors of the wine better than oak barrels. You might stare at the shelves of shades of pink and wonder how to select the right bottle of rosé wine.

Old World versus New World

If you only remember one thing about rosé, it should be the difference between Old World and New World wines. It’s a general rule of thumb, but an easy differentiator when you’re in a rush grabbing a bottle of rosé, or any kind of wine. Wines from the “old world” like European countries are often grown on mature vines that have been around for centuries. The result of those Old World grapes is an earthier, more complex wine. New World wines are from much of the rest of the world, like the United States, Australia, and South America. The younger vines typically create wines that are fruitier. While this is a generalization, it’s a good place to start understanding the characteristics of wine by what region it comes from. If you want to run your own taste test, pick up a bottle of rosé wine from California and one from France and see what differences you can notice.  

Here are some specific regions of note:

 Traditional Provence Rosé 

Since so much fantastic rosé comes out of Provence, France, you can find a delicious bottle at every price point. In the South of France, rosé is as much a lifestyle as it is a wine! Provençal rosé wine is much drier (less sweet) than New World rosé but still has yummy fruity characteristics. The crisp, citrusy rosés from Provence are fantastic for warm weather and might just transport you in your mind to the French countryside.

Fun Fact: The Cotes de Provence AOC wine region is actually made up of 85 small towns between Nice and Marseille. 

Travel Rosé 

If you enjoy bold, full-flavored wines, look for a rosé from Tavel in the Rhône wine region of France. Red wine lovers typically gravitate to Tavel rosé because of the richness and structure of the rosé. The rosé wine from Tavel is deep both in color and flavor due to longer contact with the grape skins. If you’re looking for a rosé to pair with red meat, a dry Tavel rosé wine is likely your best choice as it can stand up to heartier foods.  

Rosato & Rosado

In Italy, rosé wine is Rosato; the country offers a variety of styles depending on what region and climate of Italy it is grown in. Northern Italy often produces sweeter, lighter rosato while the South of Italy offers drier rosato with a more full-bodied profile. In Spain, it’s called rosado. The Spanish offerings often come from Garnacha (Grenache) grapes or Tempranillo, which brings lovely watermelon and raspberry notes. 

Travel Rosé 

If you enjoy bold, full-flavored wines, look for a rosé from Tavel in the Rhône wine region of France. Red wine lovers typically gravitate to Tavel rosé because of the richness and structure of the rosé. The rosé wine from Tavel is deep both in color and flavor due to longer contact with the grape skins. If you’re looking for a rosé to pair with red meat, a dry Tavel rosé wine is likely your best choice as it can stand up to heartier foods.  

Varietals of Note

Mourvèdre Rosé 

Look for a light coral color in the wall of rosé wine at the store, and you might land on a rosé using Mourvèdre grapes. Expect lovely floral notes, like violet, complimenting the fruity characteristics of red plums and the smokiness of dried herbs.  

Malbec Rosé 

You’re likely familiar with Malbec from the rich red wine, typically from Argentina. A Malbec rosé softens those powerful flavors and body with lighter, but still bold, rosé wine. This fresh, dry rosé wine goes great with spicy foods because of its clean finish. 

Syrah Rosé 

Rosé wine from Syrah grapes tend to be a full-bodied wine, quite nearly the opposite from a sweet California blush wine. Look for a mouthful of savory flavors, with a rich texture. 

Grenache Rosé  

Grenache rosé wine is one of the softest rosé with delicate strawberry and hibiscus flavors, along with a lovely ruby red color. Serve your grenache rosé very cold and notice how the wine changes as it warms while you sip. This rosé will be high in acidity and very fruit forward for a very refreshing wine that lends itself to sunny afternoons and long lunches.  

Zinfandel Rosé  

White Zinfandel is the rosé wine that caught early popularity in the United States for its sweetness. While there are still many White Zinfandels that taste more like candy than wine, some winemakers have decided to take a new approach to Zinfandel rosé wines and offer a less sweet and more complex style.  

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About The Author

Michelle Stansbury

Michelle Stansbury is a San Diego-based blogger and freelance writer who writes about travel, food, cannabis, and relationships. Follow her @discovermichelle or visit https://www.eatdrinkbesd.com/. Her work has appeared in national magazines like Marie Claire, Forbes, Cosmo, Reader's Digest, and Bustle.

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