Rosé wines are wines of immediate pleasure, free of any sacredness.
Driven by Provence, which has increased its production by 516% in 10 years, rosé wines are making their mark everywhere as a wine for pleasure that can also be transformed into a true gastronomic wine.
It is no longer a fashion, it is a phenomenon! In just a few decades, rosé has blown away the traditional red/white divide. In Europe, North America or Asia, it has become the favorite color of millenials, who love it.
The older generation sometimes looked at this hybrid color between red and white with a condescending eye: “it’s not wine! If the first ones were not always crazy interesting, the producers now offer rosés that are better and better constructed. Real wines, for sure!
Bleeding or maceration rosé
As with red wines, the must remains in contact with the skin of the red grapes so that the skin brings its color. If the maceration of a red wine can last several weeks, it generally does not extend beyond one day for a rosé. The longer the maceration, the more colorful, structured and full-bodied the wine will be. In the case of a rosé de saignée, it is a matter of taking out a part of a vat intended to deliver a red wine to transform it into a rosé (as in Tavel, Bandol or Bordeaux, for clairet).”
This method is identical to the one used to make white wines. The red grapes are pressed directly after the harvest, without maceration. The contact time between the juice and the skin being very short, the rosé wine obtained is pale. The rosés of Provence are essentially wines resulting from direct pressing.
This consists of adding a little red wine to a vat of white wine to tint it. Globally, this method is little used for the production of still wines (although it is the majority in Luxembourg) but is very frequent for sparkling wines.
This very pale rosé with pastel tones, delivers a delicate nose with scents of strawberry, anise, licorice and orange peel. The mouth is fresh, tonic, marked by citrus fruits and noble bitters. Supported by a beautiful structure, peppery and balsamic notes allow to prolong the tasting in mouth. This wine is perfect now, but it can also be kept for one or two years.
FRANCE, THE WORLD’S LEADING PRODUCER OF ROSE
In France, Provence is the leading region: 80% of its wines are rosé, made mostly from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes. Most of them are made by direct pressing, with the exception of Tavel and Bandol wines made by maceration. The region alone produces 5% of the world’s wine production.
On the shores of the Mediterranean, the Languedoc (13% of rosés) and especially Roussillon (40%) are other market players.
The second largest rosé producing region in France is the Loire Valley. Vinified essentially from Cabernet d’Anjou, Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc, they are often sweeter than the rosés of Provence.
In Bordeaux, the claret so appreciated by the English had made the fortune of the wine growers and merchants since the Middle Ages. Produced from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is now making a strong comeback and the region is producing more each year (over 6%).
In central and north-eastern France (Sancerre, Alsace, Champagne, Burgundy, Beaujolais…), rosé is very much in the minority (around 5%) and is made from pinot noir.
Their consumption is no longer a question of season. The time is long gone when it was only drunk on terraces in summer. Today, it can be found all year round in shops and restaurants. However, the diversity and quality of the production invite to differentiate them.
Fresh and easy to drink, the rosés of pressing – and particularly the rosés of Provence – lend themselves perfectly to the game of the aperitif. They are also perfect with fish (especially raw) and seafood. Serve them around 9/10° C.
More powerful and aromatic, the rosés of maceration (Tavel, Bandol, Bordeaux clairet…) can accompany a barbecue or a nice plate of cold cuts. Serve them around 10/12° C.
Text written by Erwant Nonet.
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