Rosé Revolution - the world of rosé wines

It's Peach Fuzz, in its pastel version, the finest and most elegant color of the year. Just as in fashion, in the world of wine, Peach Fuzz (Rosé wine) is gaining more attractiveness, strength, and interest among Italian and foreign enthusiasts and experts.

According to data from the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine), France leads the list of major consumers of this type of wine, followed by the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. The trend for both still and sparkling versions is very positive.

The allure of rosé wine lies in its versatility, ease of pairing, liveliness, freshness, informality, and affordability. Research indicates an increasing consumption even among more discerning consumers. Such a surprising and overwhelming success has led to the talk of a Rosé Revolution and has pushed technicians and producers to pay more attention to rosé wines than in the past. The results of this commitment have ensured that the quality of rosé wines continues to rise.

How Rosé wine is produced

The production of rosé wine can vary considerably depending on vinification techniques and grapes used. The color and aromas depend on many variables, all important for obtaining unique and distinctive results. Grapes are harvested early without waiting for phenolic ripeness to achieve sugar balance and proper acidity.

There are two main methods to obtain rosé wine from red grapes: direct pressing and bleeding (saignée).

Direct pressing: In general, the color and aromas of rosé wines derive from a winemaking process that minimizes maceration time in contact with grape skins, from a few hours to a maximum of two days. This reduces the amount of tannins and red colorants contained in the grape skin transferred to the wine compared to a traditional red wine.

Saignée method: Another technique used is bleeding, known as "hat raising," which involves removing a certain amount of free-run juice from the tank of macerating black grapes destined for the production of high-quality red wine. This latter will then have a higher concentration of color matter and extracts. The rosé, in turn, tends to be particularly fragrant, full-bodied, and with good alcohol content.

Fermentation generally occurs in stainless steel containers or vitrified cement tanks. In some cases, rosé wines undergo fermentation and/or aging in barrels or tonneaux, mostly made of French oak, but experiences with acacia wood or others enriching them with tertiary aromas due to wood are not lacking.

In the case of rosé sparkling wines, after creating the bases, the sparkling process is carried out using the Martinotti Method or the Traditional Method.

In some cases, rosé is also created by blending a small amount of red wine and white wine. This method is prohibited in Italy and in most French denominations, except for Champagne, where excellent sparkling rosés are made by blending Chardonnay with small amounts of Pinot Noir/Meunier.


Production Areas

The world of Italian rosé wines is incredibly varied: wherever wine is produced, rosé is also made. From north to south, there are numerous interpretations and a great diversity of styles and unique flavors. Almost all Italian indigenous black grape varieties can be transformed into rosé: Pinot Nero or Grigio, Freisa, Barbera, Lagrein, Teroldego, Corvina, Rondinella, Groppello, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and, of course, Cerasuolo, Aglianico, Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera, Bombino Nero, Gaglioppo, and others.

In France, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre are widely used grape varieties, as well as Pinot Noir and Meunier.

In Spain, rosé wines are produced with Tempranillo, Garnacha, or rarer varieties such as Ondarrabi from the Basque Country and Listán Negro from the Canary Islands.

In the New World, grape varieties like Shiraz, Zinfandel, and Merlot are more common, but rosé wines can be found in Australia, America, and South Africa produced with any of the above-mentioned grapes.

The Olfactory profile of Rosé wines

The type of grape, terroir, pedoclimatic environment, and vinification techniques result in rosé wines with very diverse olfactory profiles: aromatic herbs, rose, violet, and jasmine, fruits, pink pepper, citrus, red fruits such as currants and strawberries.

From an olfactory standpoint, including both aromas at the nose and those that develop in the mouth, rosé wine possesses some typical scents of white wines and some scents of red wines. Compared to a white wine, it can have the same aromas of tropical fruit, herbs, and grapefruit/orange, while presenting fewer floral scents, white fruit, and lemon aromas. Compared to a red wine, it retains the aromas of red fruit and rose flower, while presenting less intense hints of blackberry and earthy tones.

Since a white wine usually does not have aromas of red fruit and a red wine does not have aromas of tropical fruit or citrus, the aromatic bouquet of rosé is unique and recognizable: if you perceive the presence of both red fruit (such as cherry, raspberry, strawberry, pomegranate), tropical fruit (such as pineapple, melon, peach), or citrus (orange), then you are likely in front of a rosé wine.

Some Rosé wines

The history of Italian rosé wine begins during World War II in Puglia. The Five Roses, produced by Leone de Castris, is the first Italian rosé wine. Composed of 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera, it is still today a true institution among the best Italian rosé wines. In 1943, during World War II, the wine tasted by American officers in Lecce impressed them so much that it resulted in the first order from Charles Poletti, commissioner for the Allied forces' supplies, to this company in Salice Salentino. The impossibility, due to war reasons, of having wine bottles and cork stoppers made it necessary to use beer bottles closed with a metal cap. Given the destination to the American market, an English name (Five Roses), translation of the original Italian, was put on the label. That fortunate label, still existing today, paved the way for numerous others from every corner of Puglia and beyond. Puglia boasts a significant national production of rosé wines in terms of both quantity and quality. The only Italian DOCG dedicated exclusively to rosé wine is also from Puglia, the Castel del Monte Bombino Nero.

Other Italian rosé wines include the Cortona Syrah rosé, inspired by Provencal wines, and the Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo, produced from Montepulciano grapes.

The Chiaretto Bardolino and the Valtènesi Chiaretto, produced in the areas of Lake Garda in northern Italy, Veneto region, and Lombardian shore. Chiaretto Bardolino is obtained with the same grapes as Bardolino: corvina, corvinone, rondinella, and molinara. The scents are peony, gardenia, gentian, citrus, and wild berries. Valtenesi Chiaretto is produced with grapes of groppello gentile, marzemino, sangiovese, and barbera.

The Kretzer is a variety of rosé wine from Alto Adige, produced from Lagrein grapes, an indigenous black grape variety, known for its freshness and versatility, with aromas of sour cherry, raspberry, violet, and red rose. Its balance between fruit tones and saline notes makes it very versatile in food pairings. The winemaking philosophy aims for a subtle color and moderate alcohol content, preferring pleasantness, acidity, and a leaner body.

In France, Provence and the Rhône Valley are famous for their high-quality rosé wines. Provencal rosés are loved for their elegance and sophistication. The color ranges from pale pink to coral. The most famous appellation for Provencal rosé is Bandol, located on the coast between Marseille and Toulon, whose wines are often based on Mourvèdre grapes. The rosé wines of the Côtes de Provence appellation (from Grenache Noir and Cinsaut) are known for their elegance and unmistakable style. In the Rhône Valley, rosés are more structured and intense, with complex aromas of fruit and spices. Here, the AOC Tavel produces intense, full-bodied, and spicy rosés mainly from Grenache Noir grapes. Other French wine regions that produce high-quality rosés, besides Provence, Champagne, and the Rhône Valley, include the Loire where light and aromatic rosés are found, such as Sancerre Rosé; Alsace where dry and fruity rosés are produced.

Food Pairings

Rosé wine is considered one of the most versatile for food pairing. It is ideal with fish, white meats, stringy cheeses, pizza, vegetarian dishes, and cold cuts. It is a summer wine, seductive and easy-drinking, but it can also stand out for elegance and complexity and accompany the most refined haute cuisine dishes. The French, with their famous rosé wines from Provence, had already understood this versatility.

In food pairings, rosé wine is halfway between a white wine and a red wine. Its extreme versatility makes it suitable for various situations. Due to its medium-bodied structure, it can be used alternatively to a structured white wine or a light red wine. It can be served chilled, in this case approaching more to a white wine, or at room temperature if you want to drink it alternatively to a light red. The described aromas make it different, unique, and captivating compared to traditional whites and reds.

In conclusion, rosé wines offer a true sensory experience, offering a range of aromas and flavors that make them irresistible for wine lovers worldwide. With a variety of production techniques and grape varieties, rosé wines continue to amaze and delight, confirming themselves as a perfect choice for any occasion. Compared to the past, today's rosés continue to impress with freshness, versatility, and liveliness, but have also acquired more finesse, cleanliness, and complexity in terms of both aroma and taste.

TasterPlace aromas also include those of rosé wines. The Red Wine24 Aromas collections include cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and rose aromas. In the White Wine24 Aromas collections, there are tropical fruit (pineapple), citrus (grapefruit), and mineral (chalk) aromas, hawthorn, jasmine, and many others.

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