Rosé all May!

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We all love rosé—especially while we bloom from spring into summer, and warm weather is just around the corner!

What exactly makes a wine a “rosé,” though, besides its rosy hue? Is it the grape varietal? The vinification process? We’ll break it down this month, while highlighting some of the winemakers we carry in the shop. Let’s go over some of the basics to start:

How does rosé get its color?

Skin contact! Rosé wines gain color when grape juice is fermented with grape skins—red grapes are juiced, then soaked with skins for flavor and color. (For example: think of Pinot Noir. This is a red grape, famous for Pinot Noir red wines, but it’s also a major grape varietal used in famously bright, bubbly, and clear champagnes. That’s all about skin contact.)

What grape varietals are used to make rosé?

This is where the magic happens— a wide variety of grapes are used to create rosé wines. According to Wine Folly:

“Grenache, Cinsault, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir… nearly every wine grape has been used to make Rosé wine. Since the category has grown in popularity, there are more options than ever to choose from.”

Does the shade of a rosé make a difference?

Both yes and no—light rosé tends to have zippier flavors, and darker bottles are jammier and more robust. There’s a lot of variation between regions, grapes, and winemaking processes, however—let us know if you’re looking for something very specific and we’ll be happy to make a recommendation.

Is rosé simply red and white wine combined?

Wine Insiders busted this myth! We wish it was this easy to create a delicious rosé, but blending red and white wines won’t do the trick (and it’s actually illegal in France!) Rosé can be produced with a blend of red and white grapes, but the winemaking process combines grapes at the beginning of the process, rather than at the end.

Say cheers, and treat yourself to a bottle of rosé today!