Fifty Shades Of... Rosé?
Choosing the “right” bottle from a store shelf’s assorted pink hues and prices presents a challenge, compounded by many drinkers’ distrust of rosés. “Egads, what if I/they hate it?!” Tricky, true, but a few rules of thumb can help guide the hand hovering over those bottles:
1. Rosés behave mostly like whites.
The first “aha” realization! While rosé wines come from red grapes, their style generally extends the white wine range. That means rosés remain lighter, fresher, more “summery” than true reds, despite some reddish color. But you can steer “more white” or “more red”…
2. Color depth = strength.
Rather than color hues—grey-ish, pink, coral, ruby red—note the color depth or deepness. Rosés are produced by soaking red grape skins in clear juice for a short time. Stronger-flavored grapes and/or longer soaks both increase color depth and impart heavier flavor.
3. Hot regions, heavier styles.
Winemakers hugely influence rosé style but climate has first say. Cool northerly Switzerland makes delicate, light white-wine-like rosés. Northern Spain and Tuscany often produce middleweight versions. Hot locales like southern Italy (Puglia), Argentina and parts of southern France can forge deeply extracted, dark pink-red “construction workers’” rosés.
4. Medium prices = best value.
Ah, the price question. Regardless of color, the cheapest rosés may taste flat (no “brightness”), one-dimensional (one simple flavor) and unexciting. Expensive examples feature the opposite: delicate aroma & flavor complexity lost on many drinkers. Scan the shelves for a medium price--most often the best balance of flavor and freshness--and follow the color & regional style tips above.