From Red To Pink- Exploring Rose

By Jessica Norris Granatiero

Light red, salmon, pink – these are words that describe the beautiful hues of rosé wines, wines given this name because of their color. Restaurant wine lists and retail store shelves soon will be chock full of these beauties, as the newest vintages are being released now.

Traditionally, rosés were only consumed during the late spring and summer months, when the newest rosés were released, and at Thanksgiving, a holiday pervasive with foods that marry well with rosé wines. Yet it has been only in the last 10 years that consumers now drink them throughout the year; rosés are great to enjoy during any season.

Rosés are great food partners for a plethora of cuisines and seasons. However, for the approaching warmer months, they pair particularly well with shrimp, ceviche, tomato salads, grilled salmon and seafood stew.  They work wonderfully on their own too, sitting outside by the pool reading a good book.

Is rosé a red or white?

Rosé is a type of wine that gives us a spectrum of styles, from dry to very sweet; yet they are not made from pink grapes, as you might assume, since red and white wines are made from red and white grapes respectively. The color of the resulting rosé is because of the grape’s skins and its contact with the juice. When grapes are pressed, the extracted juice is clear most of the time, regardless of whether the grape is white, or red. Red and rosé wines receive their color not from the juice but from the juice’s contact with the grape’s skins. This technical term is called maceration.

For rosés, winemakers allow a grape’s juice to soak with its skins for only a short period of time, hours. For red wines, the grape’s skin and juice remain in contact for days or weeks. Each winemaker makes her or his own decision on how long the skins and juice remain in contact, based on the resulting color and taste that she or he wants.  After the winemaker obtains the desired color and taste, the wine then goes on its way to fermentation.

France, historically, has been thought of as the most renowned place for rosé wines. But this has changed as more wineries in other countries – Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Greece and the United States – forge ahead with the making of rosé wine. Rosés also run the price spectrum, with many starting at $10. So, instead of your usual red or white wine, try a rosé when you are out at a restaurant of cooking at home.

Here are my top rosé picks for this season.

VillaViva Rose, Cotes de Thau, France: Ripe watermelon and freshly picked strawberry notes jump from the glass of this southern French rosé made from the carignan grape. The palate emulates the nose, as well as gives a soft, smooth mouthfeel. This is a crowd pleaser! Less than $15

Elvio Tintero Rosato, Italy: Made from mostly the barbera grape, blended with a couple additional Italian grapes, this rosé is dry with pomegranate, cranberry & cherry notes. It has a vibrancy that presents almost spritzy on the palate. Less than $20

Wolffer Summer In A Bottle, Long Island: Wolffer estate is located in the Hamptons, and its Summer In A Bottle Rose is coveted each year. It’s made from a blend of various white and red grapes and gives us a fruity, semi-dry wine full of cherry, strawberry and watermelon notes. Less than $30

Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, France: I have an affinity to Sancerre rosé because it is always limited and delicious, regardless of the producer. Pascal Jolivet’s is made from pinot noir and shows its elegance and beauty. It overflows with notes of black cherry, plum and raspberry, and its vibrant acidity makes it great for pairing with food. Less than $40