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Are you gonna Rosé my way?

For whatever the reason may be, society loves to hate things. It’s truly a horrible quality. No need to act holier than thou behind the screen clutching your pearls and proudly proclaiming, “I never do that!”, because I won’t believe you. We’ve all done it at one point or another. Hopping on the metaphorical bandwagon is a trend likely to never end. Said bandwagon only goes out of style once the majority jumps off it. Then again, hear me out, doesn’t that just mark the start of a new bandwagon?

I’ve got your wheels turning now!

To all my trendsetters out there: it’s time to stop loving to hate rosé. The new trend is to just have fun enjoying it with no damage to your wallet! Yes, I want you to start drinking more of the pink libation, BUT I might judge a little if your bottle of rosé is singing to the tune of $30. You’ve been warned. Lucky for you, I’ve come bearing recommendations. I’ll be highlighting some juice that is well under that price point, notable regions to look out for, and a few ways the pink beverage is produced.

Summertime starts to dissipate near the end of September (or middle of October if you live in the wild climate of NC) and ushers in cooler weather. Everyone starts whipping out the reds, big and small. The white wines of the world still get their shine albeit in smaller doses. Bubbles even get their time in the sun as the festive holidays approach. The style that gets the short end of the stick is rosé. The world seems to tuck the pink juice away or give the bottles as gifts to their least favorite family member at Christmas. Rosé only comes back out to play when things warm up, the grills are fired up and the beach excursions are made. Why is that?

There is a seasonality to rosé that makes complete sense. The vibrant, zesty character we enjoy from rosé holds firmly true when consumed in its youth. It is for that reason wine buyers go crazy buying up the fresh release of rosés in the spring and summer. We know it should be enjoyed in its prime. It is important to note that there are some rosés purposely produced with intent to be aged. Those iterations have a lot more going on texturally and shift dramatically on the palate (check out Domaine Otts). That’s not to say the other rosés magically turn into pumpkins at the stroke of midnight if you don’t consume them before October. A rosé from 2020 will likely still vibe true to the winemaker’s intention if consumed in 2022, except now it has seen some extra love in the bottle. Rosé can be consumed all year long with that in mind. The acidity and fresh fruit characteristic of them plays incredibly well with food, especially over Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

When you think about regions to look for when drinking rosé, I can 100% guarantee that Provence, France comes to mind. The production of rosé has become synonymous with the Mediterranean region in southern France. In 2016, Provence produced over 156 million bottles of rosé & the region accounts for 6% of all rosé production in the world----that’s a lot of juice! Provencal rosé tends to have more herbaceous aromatics and come across bone dry on the palate. This makes an excellent partner to seafood and seafood stews like bouillabaisse. Now Provence isn’t the only region making great rosé. Other regions to be on the lookout for are Oregon (typically very fruit forward iterations derived from Pinot Noir), Lodi, CA (a range of varietals, but usual suspects include the spicy Zinfandel), and South Africa (fruit forward & juicy styles made from Pinotage are superb here).

Allow me to debunk the theory that rosé is just white wine with a splash of red wine in it. Though blending vinified juice is a choice of production used by certain makers, it is seen as the easy route and lacks the finesse that comes from the following methods:

1. Saignee – literally translates “to bleed”. Red grapes are crushed, a portion of the juice is bled off, then allowed to concentrate in a separate vat for an upwards of two days. It has been likened to when a chef reduces a sauce to intensify the character of the resulting wine. Usually these rosé are aggressively pink in color.

2. Direct Press – considered to be the most traditional method by France. Grapes are gently pressed for their juice until the desired color is achieved. Rosé in this method will sometimes be transferred into oak to finish aging after fermentation, but stainless steel is almost always preferred to preserve the delicate fruit aromas/flavors.

3. Skin Maceration – This method involves extracting the phenolic materials of the grape (color, tannins, and flavor compounds) for the juice through prolonged exposure/contact of the skins to the wine itself.

Clearly, I’ve been drinking hella rosé in preparation for this post, so I’ve got to regale you with what I’ve been enjoying this summer. I always shamelessly plug in South Africa, and I’ll continue to do so without remorse. The Rebel Rosé of Pinotage from Black Elephant Vintners has literally become my summer bevvy of choice at this point. It’s 100% free run juice (after fermentation, it’s the juice allowed to fall from the bottom of the vat), so the resulting wine is equal parts refreshing and a punch of red fruits. That bottle can be found at Assorted Table Wine & Shop for just $13.99! My second bottle, the Amarose rosé, was a pleasant surprise. I received the bottle as a gift from my girl Gabrielle (Owner/CEO of Big Taste Best Place), who is family friends with the owners of this brand. She wanted me to give my honest feedback regarding the product and here it is: Amarose lives up to their slogan of “French style wine meets California soil”. If I had been blind tasting the wine, I might have pinged it for a Provencal rosé. It’s an equal blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignan that deserves to be paired with warm nights on the patio & BBQs.

With all that said, even I can’t deny that rosé shines the brightest on summer nights filled with bedroom pop ditties. Contrary to popular belief it can be and should be consumed all year long. Shall we hop on that bandwagon together now?

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