How To Choose Your Perfect Rosé, According To An Expert

Is there anything more summery than a perfectly chilled glass of rosé?

The pink-hued wine can, of course, be enjoyed year-round (it's great with food) but it's definitely an ideal summer sidekick.

Rosé has been enjoying a higher profile of late with the like of Whispering Angel being a hit on Instagram and a host of famous faces launching their own takes on rosé. 

If you're thinking of dipping your toe into the peachy-pink world of rosés, or simply want to try a new one, where do you begin?

It can be difficult to know which wine to choose – some can be crisp and dry, others sweet and floral - and does the colour indicate the flavour? 

We asked Thomas Soliman from Belfast-based WinesWithStories for their top tips on selecting a great rosé for any time of year.

Choose rosé from a trusted region

"Provence is comfortably the largest rosé-producing area in the world and delivering a highly individual style a long way from the sweeter, fruitier rosés of the New World. Begin with the most respected regions for rosé wine: Provence, Bordeaux or Northern Spain. Think about what reds you like. Almost every red wine-producing region produces rosé wine, so if you enjoy the red wine from a specific region, it is always a good idea to try the rosé. If you love Spanish Tempranillo, go ahead and try the rosé.

Dry or sweet?

If you have a sweeter palate, a bone-dry Provençal may not suit, so make sure to check if your wine selection is dry, medium-dry or sweet. Cheaper rosé can tend to be much sweeter like a confectioned fruit bomb. The secret is the alcohol by volume, or ABV, on the label. Anything higher than 11 per cent will be dry. If you like sweet wines, the lower the alcohol, the sweeter the rosé. Old-world regions (Italy, Spain, France) tend to be crisp and tart compared to new-world regions (U.S., South America, Australia), which are typically fruitier and sweeter.

Vincenzo Landino/Unsplash

Vincenzo Landino/Unsplash

Pale or a darker pink?

Darker rosé can have a slightly richer mouthfeel and can sometimes be fruitier in style than the pale, ethereal pink colours. The maceration method involves pressing the grapes and letting the skins sit there with the juice during fermentation; the skins are then removed before the wine gets too dark in colour.

The vin gris method is similar; it keeps the maceration time super short. Then there’s the saignée method, which is actually a by-product of red winemaking. During the fermentation of red wine, about 10 per cent of the juice is bled off. This process leaves a higher ratio of skin contact on the remaining juice, making the resulting red wine richer and bolder. The leftover bled wine or ‘saignée’ is then fermented into rosé which tends to darker and more savoury than ones made with the other methods.

Choose your favourite grape

Any red wine grape can be made into a rosé wine. The main base of rosé wine will be most prominent in the flavours. So pinot noir rosé usually has tart red fruit flavours like raspberries and strawberries while cabernet-based rosé will have more black fruit aromas like blackberries and plums.

Always pick a recent vintage

Although there are some exceptions, you should drink rosé as fresh as possible or as young as possible, so a 2019 or 2018 vintage should be the oldest, when selecting your wine.

Pairing with food

Rosé wine is very food-friendly – think pink for food pairings with shellfish, fish or cured meats and cheese as well as Asian food or even Christmas dinner. Anything involving tomato-based Mediterranean dishes is also great, and, of course, the ultimate Provençal fish soup: bouillabaisse."

Six to try:

Château La Coste Rosé d’Une Nuit 2019 BIO, from €11.85.

This is a fresh, dry rose from Aix-en-Provence - the pale pink salmon colour is the classic trademark of a good Provençal Rosé. Very dry, it has hints of spices, complex flavours and a long finish. You can get it from wineswithstories.com.

Invivo X, Sarah Jessica Parker Rosé, €18

A new addition to Sarah Jessica Parker’s range of wines with Invivo, a family winery in Provence. It’s a fresh, full-bodied wine with bright summer berry characters. You can get it from winesoftheworld.ie.

Château D’Esclans Rock Angel, €40

From the same producer family as Whispering Angel, Rock Angel has a more complex taste profile than its Insta-famous sister, with fruits and floral notes with herbaceous undertones. Stockists include Celtic Whiskey Store, Molloys, Deveneys, The Wine Centre Kilkenny, Bradleys Cork,  Avoca,  and O’Briens.

Domaine de l'Ile Rosé 2019 19.90 

An organic rosé from Domaine de L’Ile, a vineyard owned by Chanel (yes, that Chanel!) on Porquerolles, an island off the Côte d'Azur in France. has notes of barleys huger, melon and white flowers. Stockists include infinivin.com.

Castellore Organico Sparkling Rosé, €11.99

If you prefer your rosé sparking, give this option from Aldi a try. Grown using organic methods, this extra dry wine has notes of strawberry, cranberry and cherry. 

Kylie Minogue Rosé Vin de France, €12.99

Everyone's favourite pop star Kylie Minogue has launched her first rosé in collaboration with Benchmark Drinks. Made from Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes it has aromas of summer berries and white blossom with a fruity, crisp finish. You can get it from WinesofTheWorld.ie and Carry Out off licences.

This article originally featured on our sister site FOOD AND WINE. 

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