Tags: Grape & Wine Varietals

Happy International Rosé Day!

24th of June is International Rosé Day, celebrating the wonderful variety and styles of Rosés around the world, in all their pretty shades of pink.

Picture yourself relaxing on a balcony in the summer sunshine, sipping on a glass of strawberry-scented, luscious, pretty in pink Rosé. On a picnic rug amongst the autumn leaves, a chilled bottle of Rosé and sharing cheese and crackers with a loved one. A beautifully baked side of salmon on a cold winter’s evening. Any time of the year and any occasion is suitable for the versatile and food-friendly kingdom of Rosés.

Where is Rosé Made?

Rosé is made all round the world. The most famous that spring to mind are the savoury, pale salmon versions from Provence and the Pays d’Oc in France. These are typically made from blends of two or three varieties, the most common being Grenache, Shiraz, Mouvedre, Carignan and Cinsault.

In Spain, our pink hero is called Rosado, and is also typically made from a blend of two or three varieties, often Garnacha, Monastrell, and Tempranillo. In Italy, their Rosatos are often made with Sangiovese, or from the typical red wine grape of the area – for example, Barbera or Nebbiola in the north, to Nero d’Avola in the south.

Rosé Wine in Australia

In Australia, our winemakers have many different grape varieties available to them and can make decisions based on what style or flavour profile they would like to achieve. In the past, Australia had the reputation of producing sweet Rosés that were candy pink and were not widely available or sought after. However, in the last twenty years or so, Australian Rosé has taken a major leap to get to where it is today. The popularity of Rosé has grown exponentially, and now many wineries will have a Rosé in their offerings; most commonly this will be a dry Rosé with more a savoury taste profile, steering away from the overtly sweet Rosés of the past. Retail stores often now have a fridge section entirely dedicated to Rosés, and we consumers are loving it.

Flavours and Varietals

The flavours and characteristics of different types of Rosé are dependent on the grape variety, the soils and growing conditions of the vineyard region. Common flavours are red fruits and berries, watermelon, citrus fruits, and spices. They can also have very pretty floral characteristics, like rose petal, violets and orange blossom.

The colour of the different types of Rosé wine can range from the palest of salmon to a luminous ruby. This wide range of colour is a result of both the grape variety chosen, and the decision of the winemaker as to how long to leave the juice on the grape skins.

In Australia, the most common varieties of Rosé wines are made from Grenache, Shiraz and Pinot Noir.

Shiraz Rosé

Shiraz Rosés or Syrah Rosés are some of the more meatier and richer pink wines in the category. These Shiraz Rose wines will often feature oily textures with notes of white pepper, cured meats and cherry, with a backbone of lime zest. Due to its heavier profile, Shiraz Rosés will match well with a slightly oilier dish, such as a seafood paella, or a saucy linguine.

Grenache Rosé

Grenache is one of the more common varieties used for Rosés. A good Grenache Rosé will offer notes of strawberries and cream, raspberry, candy and even cucumber. Grenache Rose wines may also provide more fruity sweetness, while finishing with milder acidity. A perfect wine to enjoy by itself on a warm summer's afternoon, or bravely match with something exotic like a spice-filled, Middle Eastern or Indian stew.

Pinot Noir Rosé

Thriving in cooler climates, the Pinot Noir grape produces some of the most unique and desirable flavour profiles, and in Rosé form, this variety is even harder to resist. Often dryer in style, Pinot Noir Rosés will display notes of strawberry , orange and lemon zest and even celery. Pinot Noir Rose wines are filled with alluring aromas and delicate flavours and will match well with French cuisine as well as creamy dish.

Sparkling Rosé/ Rosé Champagne

Sparkling Rosés, Pink Champagnes or Rosé Champagnes, however you want to call them, They are spectacular and are one of our favourite ways to mark an occasion. While a sparkling wine can only be labelled a Champagne if it is produced in the Champagne region of France, Sparkling Rosés and Sparkling  wines from Australia and around the world can be just as good (if not better) and commonly use a blend of various red and white grapes. Pink sparkling wine is not only beautiful to look at, but offers delicious flavours of red berries, raspberry and strawberry as well as notes of rose petals and even rhubarb. When compared with a traditional Sparkling or Champagne the Sparkling Rosé will be slightly more structured on the palate, with slightly stronger flavours of berries and red fruits. A delicate wine that is best enjoyed chilled, and matches well with fresh seafood.

How Is Rosé Made?

Rosé wines are typically made from one of three methods:

  1. Maceration method: the juice is left to macerate (or steep) on the red grape skins for a few hours, or up to a day. The skins gradually give their colour to the initially clear grape juice. When the desired colour is achieved, the skins are removed, and the juice is fermented into wine. This method of making Rosé is common in Provence and used for high quality wine, because it is purpose-led, rather than a run-off of red wine production.
  2. Saigneé (from the word “to bleed” in French): this is when a portion of wine is “bled”, or siphoned off the pressings of red wine partway through red wine fermentation. It results in a red wine of more concentration and richer flavours, and the by-product is a rose wine.
  3. Blending: a small portion of red wine is blended together with a white wine ferment to produce a pink wine. This is not common but does occur in some places. It is not generally used by higher quality producers.

Because of their variety of flavour profiles, and the broad range between dry and sweeter styles, and light to full body, Rosé wine types are very versatile and food-friendly pairing perfectly with almost everything. Light, dry wines from Provence pair well with salads, grilled fish, seafood, and pastas. More full-bodied wines can stand up to richer and bolder flavours, such as olives, charcuterie board, soft cheeses. Roses with a little sweetness will match perfectly with spicy Thai food.

The best Rosé is the one that you have right now.

Here at Millon Wines, we are big fans of Rosé. One of our favourite wines is our Clare Valley Grenache Rosé. A pale pink hue, it has generous lifted notes of strawberry on the nose accompanied with a touch of savoury spice. Notes of wild strawberry, pomegranate and citrus on the palate, with a zesty natural acidity.

In fact, we are such fans of the pink nectar that we decided to add another Rosé to our portfolio – this time made from the Pinot Noir grape. The latest addition to our Eden Valley Impressionist range, this Pinot Noir Rosé offers aromas of strawberry, watermelon, and rose petal, with notes of red cherries and a hint of pink grapefruit on the palate.

We are eagerly awaiting the 2022 release of both these wines, coming soon!

So let’s raise a glass to International Rose Day – the wine with variety to suit every palate, versatile with food, and able to be enjoyed all year round.

Cheers to our favourite pink!