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An all-season guide to rosé

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An all-season guide to rosé

An all-season guide to rosé

If you think rosé wine is just a pink drink for women, think again! Our guide shows you that rosé can (and should) be drunk at any time of the year, by anyone.

By Fresh Living

Rosé is one of those wines you either love or hate – it inspires strong opinions simply because of its colour. Having said that, a quick Google search will reveal the -osé phenomenon. From frosé (a frozen rosé slushy cocktail) to brosé (a marketing ploy to get men to drink more rosé), it’s clear that rosé has taken the wine-drinking world by storm. Experts are even calling it the wine for millennials, thanks to the official pink colour of this generation.

Think your rosé wine is sweet? Very often our noses can mislead us – if we smell fruit, our brains are trained to expect a sweet taste. If you really want to test the sugar level, hold your nose before taking a mouthful: if it still tastes sweet, there’s residual sugar in the wine.

Rosé wine can be a wonderful combination of lightness and fruitiness, with a touch of crispness thrown in, and it can range in hue from pale salmon to light pink, and even orange. Long gone is the idea that rosé is only present at book-club meetings and summer picnics – it’s now a wine for any occasion. We bust the myths to give you an all-season guide to picking, drinking and celebrating rosé wine.

What is rosé wine and how is it made?

There’s a common misconception that rosé wine is made purely by mixing red and white wine together to achieve a pink colour. This isn’t the only way to make rosé, and it’s actually frowned upon in the winemaking community. Here are the four main methods that are used to make rosé wine:

1. Skin contact: After being crushed, skins of dark-coloured grapes are left in contact with the grape juice for a short time to act as a dye. The more contact the skins have with the juice, the deeper the colour of the resulting wine. The must – the juice with skin, seeds and stems – is then pressed and the skins are discarded before fermentation.

2. Saignée: Some of the pink juice from the must can be removed, or “bled”, from the tank during the early stages of making red wine. This pink juice is then fermented in a separate tank to make saignée (“senn-yay”) rosé wine, whereas the remaining red wine is left in the vats to intensify.

3. Direct pressing: Similar to the skin-contact method, the red grapes are crushed, but the skins are then immediately removed from the juice. This results in a very light-hued juice that is then fermented to make rosé wine.

4. Blending: Much like the name describes, blending involves mixing a bit of white wine with a touch of red wine to make a pink-hued rosé wine. This method is relatively uncommon (except in the making of sparkling wine) and, in some parts of the world, even banned.

How do you choose the best rosé wine for you?

Finding a good rosé wine that you’ll enjoy is all about knowing what different types of rosé wines are available:

Grenache rosé: This wine has fruity notes of strawberry, orange and hibiscus. It tends to be fairly full-bodied, so you’ll want to serve it chilled to preserve its zestiness. It’s the perfect wine to enjoy in summer.

Pinot Noir rosé: Delicate and fruity, this wine has subtle aromas of berries and watermelon, and is a pale salmon colour with a refreshingly high acidity. Serve chilled with sweet-and-sour pork and saucy strawberry desserts.

Mourvèdre rosé: Mourvèdre is a red wine grape and rosé wines made from it often have a pale orangey-pink colour. The wine has rose, strawberry, cherry and plum notes, with a crisp and dry finish. It’s the perfect summer drink to take with you to braais.

Cabernet Sauvignon rosé: Mostly processed through the saignée method, this wine is a deep ruby colour with similar flavours to red wine. It has spicy pepper and cherry notes. It’s a wine for any occasion, and one to try if you’re a red wine fan.

Syrah rosé: Much like Cabernet Sauvignon rosé, this wine is bolder, so serve it closer to room temperature. It’s an easy summer drink that pairs well with a poké bowl, creamy prawn pasta and soft cheeses.

What’s the difference between dry and sweet rosé wine?

Dry rosé wine has less residual sugar (the natural grape sugar that is left unfermented) and a crisp bite with a similar structure to red wine (just less body). If the winemaker decides not to ferment all the sugar into alcohol, the resulting wine will be considered a sweet rosé wine.

How should you drink rosé wine?

Remove your rosé from the fridge about 15 minutes before serving – you don’t want those wonderful flavours to shrink and disappear, which will happen if the wine is too cold (less than 9°C). Don’t serve rosé wine too warm either (above 13°C) – there’s nothing worse than sipping a lovely wine that has become “soupy”. You’ll enjoy most rosé wine during the first two years of it being made.