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Everything’s Coming Up Rosé

Summer is here … well, apparently. And while we may not be able to see the fiery ball of yellow in the sky with any real consistency yet, we can certainly feel the increase in temperature and humidity! Conditions like these call for something refreshing in your glass. Something that is fruity enough to be interesting, but light enough in weight to have anytime of the day.

It also needs to be versatile enough to go with an array of foods and occasions - from brunches to lunches, antipasto and cheeses, an abundance of seafood and salads, and everything in between! And while it is certainly no longer considered just a summertime drink, Rosé is the wine that ticks all those boxes … and even more!

Which is why Rosé has experienced the most incredible growth trajectory for well over 15 years now. It has had a couple of slowdowns sure, but that was mostly supply catching up with the global demand, and time for designations to be expanded to plant more vineyards for production. And it’s not just still Rosé wine on the rise – but Sparkling Rosé too!

So, let’s take an up close and personal look at this global phenomenon, and how to find your perfect Rosé drop!

Shop the full range of Rose.

How It’s Made

Stylistically Rosé is made more like a white wine but uses predominantly red grape varieties – and not just one or two of them … just about every red grape has been made into a Rosé.

All grapes, regardless of colour produce clear juice when you press them. The colour and other compounds, come from the skins when they’re left in contact with the juice – this technique is referred to as maceration. Most white wines don’t use skins for colour, but obviously reds do as well as for tannin and phenolics. Rosé will have some element of maceration early in the process for a limited time, as it’s only the colour they want to extract. Red wine production will combine the skins and seeds right through the fermentation process.

To make Rosé, there are two main methods.

Skin Contact or maceration is the most widely used method. Black grapes are gently crushed and left with the skins in contact with the juice for a short period, depending on the hue of pink that is required. This ‘must’ is pressed to extract the juice and to separate the skins and seeds.

Saignée, meaning to bleed in French, occurs during red wine fermentation. It is literally a by-product when a small portion of wine is ‘bled off’ and is fermented into Rosé. These wines are often darker, more savoury styles, and can age longer than a skin contact wine can as there is more tannin from the original red wine.

Colour & Style

Nothing is ever black and white when it comes to wine, and this is especially true when you’re actually talking hues of pink! The simplest view to shop by shade, is to consider the depth of the original grape varietal.

The general rule is that the naturally lighter varietals will have to spend longer on skins to extract their naturally pale colour. And the heavier, thick-skinned grapes will spend less time on skins as they naturally have more pigment, which the winemaker will want to avoid extracting too much tannin and other flavour compounds from.

Production methods can obviously influence this but you’re unlikely to know how it was made, unless it’s stated on the label and in a language you’re fluent in. Also, some countries and region’s ie Southern France could be a blend that once again you don’t know.

So, to make this simple we will list these in order, from light through dark using a mix of origin and grape varietal.

From Light to Dark….

  • Southern France – Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault
  • Pinot Noir
  • Spanish Rosado - predominantly Tempranillo
  • Merlot
  • Italian Rosato – Predominantly Sangiovese
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Syrah
  • Rhône/Tavel – Predominantly Grenache

Lean & Fresh – The ever-popular pale pink wines based on the Southern French style start with citrus flavours, moving into strawberry and watermelon, and can go right through to the red berry spectrum. These wines are fresh, crisp and dry, with a salivating minerality at the end. They are extremely versatile with food especially any Mediterranean influences, which make them widely appealing to the masses, and a must have in your wine rack for entertaining.

Shop Chapoutier Pays d’Oc, Victorie L’Audacieuse, Exhib and Domaine by OTT.

Subtle & Elegant – Pinot Noir is a subtle, elegant red grape, and a Pinot Rosé is no exception. It will smell lighter in the glass like strawberry and raspberry, but on the palate it should be deeper more towards cherry in flavour with hints of earthiness and a cool, crisp, dry finish.

Shop the Summerhouse Pinot Rose, Wild Earth Pinot Noir Rose, or the Villa Maria Single Vineyard The Attorney Pinot.

Fruity & Fun – These cover the mid-section of Tempranillo, Merlot and Sangiovese. Strawberry, melon, peach and often highly perfumed with alluring floral and spice notes. Usually off-dry but have a lovely fruit sweetness balanced by a quenching acidity.

Served well-chilled and you’ll find they are a crowd-pleaser on a warm day.

Try the Trophy winning Squawking Magpie First Flight Startled Pink, or the top-selling Made Too Much Rosé.

Rich & Savoury – These are your weightier grapes like Cabernet, Syrah and Grenache, and or wines that are often made using the Saignée method. They will show darker fruit notes like cherry and blackcurrant, some herbal or spice elements. They are full bodied and are ideal for barbeque and bolder flavours.

You can’t go past the cult classic Clearview Estate Sparkling Blush.

Shop Rosé wine online and find your perfect drop with Smart Search. Simply type the key flavour words you like into our Smart Search bar at the top of our web page, and browse Rosé suited to your palate! You could also use our Expert Assist tool to help you find your next perfect beverage.


Rosé has a well-deserved reputation for being incredibly food friendly. By its nature it is extremely versatile due to a balance of natural fruit sweetness and high acidity. This makes quick work of a lot of usually challenging foods like tomatoes, garlic, chilli, salad dressings, fresh herbs, and eggs.

Starting on the lighter end of the scale, the rise of Provence Rosé has a lot to do with its ability to be matched with foods. No one drinks more Rosé than the French – their own and plenty of imported ones too! And the majority of it is the Lean & Fresh style that would accompany all the Provençal specialities. Try them with Bouillabaisse ( Fish Stew ), Aioli, Soupe au Pistou, Salad Niçoise, and anything involving artichokes or goat cheese! Incredibly versatile wines, that make it a staple for any self-respecting Rosé afficianado.

Moving up the scale just a smidge, your Pinot based Rosé still offers incredible versatility, but you’ll need to stay withing the parameters of Subtle and Elegant. This style can easily be overpowered by a heavier tomato-based sauce, spice and stronger flavours. Keep the food matches simple and elegant with plenty of chicken and seafood as your protein, maybe even stretching to duck. A great partner for lighter pasta or risotto dishes too.

The Fruity & Fun section is another brimming with versatility. The fruit sweetness here can extend to stronger flavours again with spices like saffron and paprika pairing well. Turn up the heat too with chilli and fresh herbs. This style loves the bold flavours of garlic, olives, anchovy, as well as moving into pâté, terrines, and charcuterie. Premium examples will also reach into the salmon, tuna, seared rare lamb and white rind cheese like Brie and Camembert.

Rich & Savoury is a full-bodied style that will take your gastronomy skills to new heights with the likes of duck, mushroom, braised meats, modern barbeque flavours, curries, and spice in general. Have fun here, your efforts in the kitchen will be rewarded ten-fold with a carefully selected Rosé on hand.

So, it really isn’t hard to see why Rosé ticks so many boxes, and why it has had unprecedented growth for so long. It’s refreshing, easy-drinking, food friendly, and has a huge array of styles to choose from. With no signs of slowing down just yet, maybe it’s time you joined the Rosé Revolution too?

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