AUSTIN (KXAN) — As summer creeps closer, so begins the start of “Rosé Season” — the time when red and white wines take a small vacation while Americans enjoy barbecues and pool hangs with a glass of pinkish rosé, often called “summer water.”
What is rosé?
By the looks and taste of it, rosé seems to be a kind of median between red and white — with a taste that backs this up. But is that all there is to it?
According to David Kuhlken, winemaker at Pedernales Cellers in Stonewall, rosé is made more in the style of white wine, but is made using red grapes. Kuhlken says the alcohol content is about the same of white wine, but is generally less alcoholic than similar reds.
The drink is generally considered a “summer” wine that’s lighter and refreshing. According to Food & Wine, while rosé has long historical roots dating back to ancient Greece, the wine has only become a huge staple in the U.S. rather recently. In 2013, the U.S. imported 4 million cases of rosé from the Provence region of France — 25 times more than came in 2003.
How’s it made?
According to Dave Reilly, winemaker at Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, there are about three ways to make rosé.
- Maceration — This is the most common process and the one used at Duchman, according to Reilly. The process involves letting red wine grapes rest — or macerate — in the juice for several hours before being removed. For a red wine, the grapes would be allowed to macerate for much longer, thus, the wine is not as red.
- Saignée or “bleed” — In this method, juice is “bled” off of grapes being used to make red wine. The “bleed” goes into a separate container just for rosé. This method is rarer and according to Wine Folly, only accounts for about 10 percent or less of a winery’s production.
- Blending — Blended rosé is created when a bit of red wine is added to a vat of white wine. According to Reilly, it doesn’t take much red to redden the white wine to a softer pink shade.
How and when to drink rosé?
Reilly recommends pairing the pink wine with smoked meats, like ham and turkey, and cheeses, saying that he enjoys the wine not only during the summertime but that it complements his Thanksgiving! Kuhlken, meanwhile, said he generally subscribes to the notion that rosé has a summer season.
“It’s a beautiful complement to sunny, warmer weather,” says Kuhlken. “I definitely think it’s better paired with summery foods.”
Which rosé is right for you?
Kuhlken’s tips for picking out the right brand or bottle for yourself include asking for recommendations from friends and family, rather than what’s expensive or looks fancy. He says that for a better rosé experience, to try out smaller wineries’ offerings, because while there are many mass-produced rosés he thinks are good, he says they can taste “generic and all the same.” Another tip is to “see what they’re serving at restaurants, what you see being served at bars.”