I was recently asked, “What is the point of rosé?”, a genuine question from a guy who is into wine. He couldn’t understand how any rosé could possibly be taken seriously.
This is something I completely understand because, for a long time, rosés have been considered a ‘beginners’ wine, often compared to Alco-pops, or even Ribena. I grew up in the 80’s when Mateus rosé was all the rage.
At the time, it was a global phenomenon with its unique bottle shape holding sweet, sparkling pink juice. Many people still have the idea that rosé is either sweet or bland and a cheap inferior wine option.
For me, this is not the case. I believe that there is a time and place for every wine. Due to our lack of sunshine, rosés are not as popular here as they are in the USA or Mediterranean countries. The weather often influences the type of wine we choose, rarely is rosé a first choice.
It is a seasonal drink ideal for garden parties, picnics, BBQ’s or to sip whilst watching Roger Federer, I mean Wimbledon, while nibbling on fresh strawberries in July. During the summer months, I seek out rosés as they lift my mood and brighten my day. For me, a rosé is sunshine in a glass.
Rosé is also known as Rosado in Spain, Rosato in Italy and Blush in the USA. While most quality rosé wine is produced dry, any rosé can be made in a sweet style simply by not fermenting all the sugar into alcohol. European wines with a pale colour typically are drier styles, whereas deeper coloured inexpensive wines may have some level of sweetness.
Did you know? Rosé Champagne is made by mixing white & red grapes and it is the only quality wine in the EU legally allowed to be made this way. Rosés are made to be drunk young, ideally within 18 months of release to retain the its purity of fruit and freshness. If you see a dusty bottle of rosé on a wine shelf, chances are it’s past its best!
Rosé wine can be made from any black grape variety, yes black grapes as all grape juice is clear. The colour of a rosé wine is affected by two things; the grape variety and the length of time the juice remains in contact with the grape skins, this is where rosé gets its colour.
A winemaker will leave the juice to develop to its desired colour, from pale salmon to an intense deep pink; there are more than 50 shades of pink! This will generally only take a few hours of maceration whereas for red wine this could take days or even weeks.
Fun Fact – Have you ever noticed the picture of a castle on Mateus rosé wine? I never paid attention to it until I heard this story! Back in the 40’s a man called Guedes wanted to use the image of ‘Mateus Palace’ on their new rosé wine and offered the owners a 50-cent royalty on every bottle sold or a lump sum paid up front in exchange for the use of its likeness.
Taking the single down payment instead, it is a decision that will go down as one of the greatest blunders in the history of both wine and business as Mateus rosé has sold millions of bottles all over the world!
Still, rosés are extremely versatile when paired with food. Try one with pink fleshed fish such as salmon or trout. A perfect pairing is tapas, paella or ratatouille, even sushi and Thai work great with rosé wine. The best pairing of all is rosé with a BBQ.
Below you’ll find some of my favourites. Enjoy experimenting.
Bodega Purines Montesierra Rosado DO Somontano Spain 2017
An unusual blend from Spain using International grape varieties, Cabernet & Merlot. This delightful wine displays a deep cherry colour. Light aromas of summer fruit which lead onto flavours to match of juicy fresh red berries and redcurrants with a hint of sweet spice. A medium bodied wine with crisp acidity and a fruity finish. Ideal on its own or with tapas, paella or a BBQ.
(Available from Clontarf Wines, Jus de Vin Portmarnock, Lilac Wines Fairview, Listons, Mortons Ranelagh, Sweeneys Glasnevin. Approx.€13.00)
Domaine Lafage Miraflors Cotés Catalanes France 2017
Not only does this wine have a sexy sleek looking bottle, the wine itself is incredible. Delicate and refined with just a kiss of pink colour. Hints of citrus, blood orange and some floral notes. This wine, made from organic grapes is dry, is light in body with clean refreshing acidity and a glorious never ending dry finish. An extra nice touch here is the modern glass stopper. Enjoy with light fish, grilled chicken, sushi, basically anything. It’s just fab!
(Available from Baggot Street Wines, Clontarf Wines, Gibneys Malahide, Higgins Clonskeagh, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, Lilac Wines Fairview, Martins Fairview, Mortons Ranelagh, Sweeneys Glasnevin Thomas’s Foxrock, Vintry Rathgar. approx. €19.00)
La Viña De Ayer Garnacha, Spain, 2016
If you still don’t trust me about rosés, here is a cracking light summer red wine. Pale ruby in colour, delicious ripe strawberry and raspberry aromas which follow through on the palate with some added floral notes. An accessible red wine with refreshing acidity, light and vibrant with soft delicate tannins. Be warned though it is extremely easy to drink and has warm heat from its 14.7% alcohol content. A great summer wine which can be served slightly chilled and enjoyed with tapas, poultry, quiche & omelettes.
(Available in Drinks Store Stoneybatter, Jus de Vin Portmarnock, Mortons Ranelagh, Redmonds Ranelagh, Searsons Monkstown & Sweeneys Glasnevin. approx. €20.00)
Hi, I am Lynda Coogan owner of Wine Tasting Ireland, I am delighted to be part of The Taste team where I can passionately share my love and knowledge of wine with you. I hold a WSET Diploma in wine, I have ten years’ experience in the wine trade and I am a member of the Guild of Sommeliers. Wine Tasting Ireland, specialises in hosting fun, interactive wine tastings for groups. I believe that by going back to basics, wine can be appreciated by everyone, a little knowledge goes a long way! We come to you, bring all that’s needed to set up a unique, bespoke wine tasting event in your offices, your home or any venue. They are ideal for team building at work, a social gathering or a special occasion. I would love to hear from you, so please get in touch.