Spring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere and warmer temperatures mean something very important to wine drinkers: that it’s time to break out the rosé and enjoy some chilled pink refreshment. What is rosé? How do you pair it? How can it be enjoyed? We’ll go through everything you need to know in this primer
Rosé isn’t white wine and it isn’t red wine. It’s kind of both, but not in the way you’d think. Some people think the pink hue is achieved by mixing red and white wines and while a small number are, color is determined more by the type of grapes and methods used. To review from our earlier article on wine color here’s how wine color is determined:
Red wine is made from the juice of red grapes which are left in contact with their skins, stems and other organic materials producing their deep color and tannins.
White wine is made from the juice of white/green grapes which are not left in contact with the skins, stems and other organic materials producing light colored wines with no discernible tannic qualities.
Rosé wine is made from the juice of red grapes but contact is not prolonged thus they are lighter in color and lacking in tannic qualities.
- Store your rosé in the fridge if you purchase it cold. If you buy it off the floor put it in a cool, dark place like your cellar, wine fridge or pantry until a few hours before drinking it. If you store it in a conventional fridge, allow it to warm up to the low 50’s before opening and serving.
- Rosé is generally served slightly warmer than white and cooler than red wines with the ideal serving temperature of 54°.
- Rosé should not be decanted because too much oxygen is not good for it and will spoil the taste. Like whites, the flavor will open as it warms when you drink it.
Suggestions For Rosé Wine Pairings
We love general pairing rules. They are easy to remember and you can follow them based on taste versus having to know the tasting profiles of many different grapes. There are two rules to remember when you want to pair rosé with food.
Rosé pairs best with meals that are savory and feature fruit. Savory roasted, broiled or grilled meats with spiced fruit… that is what works best. Many dishes that have autumnal flavors work perfectly with the aromatics of rosé. The best part about this is that some of these flavors work perfectly year round so adding potatoes or serving with light zuchinni or carrot noodles allow you to enjoy rosé throughout the year.
Match the intensity of the wine with the intensity of the food. You don’t even need to know the grape, just use the color of the wine to gauge intensity!
A Word To The Wise
Avoid bitter flavors when pairing with rosé. It just doesn’t ever work out right.
Perfect Rosé Pairing Ideas
Apps, Salads, And Snacks
- Cold salads featuring celery, apples, carrots and nuts — avoid any dressings with bitter herbs.
- Melon wrapped with Prosciutto — Any kind of melon works beautifully with rosé and the prosciutto is the perfect contrast. You can add hollandaise or ricotta if you want a little extra heft.
- Grilled Finger Sandwiches Made With Mild Cheese and Fruit — Go with classic combinations like mascarpone and apricot, or brie and fig. Avoid fruit that is overly flavorful or use less of it. Stay away from blue cheese. It won’t work here. A mild feta with olive tapenade will work with a more intense rosé.
- Roasted Pears — Roasted or grilled pairs work beautifully with rosé and can feature flavorful nuts, salty but mild cheeses, or cured but thinly sliced meats as a complement that will bring the dish to perfection.
- Pork — Pork is one of the best meats to pair with rosé. If pork is something you can’t eat due to religious reasons, have no fear — other meats work, too! See the two bullets below. We think pork works beautifully with tart apples and thyme or rosemary, or peaches with nutmeg or cinnamon.
- Beef — A grilled filet mignon, or other cut of your choice, with pomegranate seeds or a pomegranate sauce pairs nicely with a more intense rosé. Other options for heavier rosé wines include moroccan- and asian-style beef.
- Chicken — Curry chicken, chicken l’orange, and grilled chicken with fresh apple salsa are our favorites for rosé pairings
Rosé Wine Cocktails
If you’re not a purist, another option for enjoying rosé is to use it in delightful cocktails. Wine cocktails are making a comeback and are a great way to use the wine in fun and interesting ways. Here are some of our favorites:
- Lush — This pretty cocktail is perfect on its own or with canapes. You don’t need to use an actual Champagne, which will run the cost up — just stick with a champagne style sparkling rosé.
- Sangria — Use this guide to learn how to make the ultimate Sangria and then mix up a batch using the guidelines and rosé while letting your imagination and creativity run wild.
- Caipirinha — While traditional caipirinha (a drink from Brazil) is more like a mojito, this version relies on tart raspberries and brut rosé sparkling wine to make a delicious rosé cocktail for any time of day.
Tips For Choosing Rosé
- Rosé comes in a multitude of styles, is made from all sorts of grapes, and is produced in a variety of regions. If you know your climate preference or regions you like, that’s a great place to start if you’re interested in expanding your palette beyond your typical wines. But what about if you need it for pairing or a cocktail?
- If you are going to pair rosé with food, be sure to follow our pairing advice above and go with moderately priced wine. Avoid super cheap rosé if you are going to be serving it with food as you won’t have access to the same range of grapes or complexity of flavors.
- If you’re choosing rosé for cocktails you can definitely save a few bucks. The trick is to follow the style requested but because it is mixed with other ingredients you can go cheaper. Just not too cheap.
What is your favorite way to enjoy rosé? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments and on social media!