An Essential Guide to the Best Rosé Wines

Rosé wine has seen a surge in popularity over the last few years – and far from its previous perceptions as the poor cousin of red and white wines – rosé is now the go-to drink for a new generation.

Discover everything you need to know about pink wines with our essential guide to rosé. Get the low down on the top rosé regions and varieties of grapes used to make the best rosés available.

What is rosé wine?

Rosé wine is produced using red grapes, but with a reduced fermentation time of the skins to give the wine its distinctive pink hue and a lighter flavour than red wine. This fresh, bright flavour has popularised rosé as a summertime drink, conjuring up visions of lazy summer days and picnics – but pink wine is increasingly being consumed throughout the year.

Which grapes make the best rosé wine?

One of the most commonly used grapes in blended rosé comes from Grenache vines. Other grape varieties include Syrah, Tibouren, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon.

These grapes used are then squeezed and left to steep with their skins for up to forty-eight hours in a process known as maceration. Once the wine had reached the required delicate shade of pink, the skins are removed and discarded, and the liquid is left to ferment.

Which regions produce the best pink wine?

Provence, in France, is widely accepted as the capital of rosé wine and any wine produced in this region is thought to be of premium quality (and usually more expensive). Provencal rosé is typically made using Grenache and Syrah grapes and is famed for its dry taste and pale pink hue.

Want to be sure the wine you are choosing is from Provence? Check the label – and if it lists one of the below regions, you know you’ve got the real deal:

  • Cassis
  • Coteaux Varios
  • Côtes de Provence
  • Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence
  • Bandol

We recommend Peyrassol Réserve des Templiers Côtes de Provence as a fantastic full-bodied all-rounder at a reasonable price.

Other producers of European pink wines include Italy and Spain, while there are also some excellent New World rosés emerging from Argentina and California. Try Santa Rosa Syrah Rosé from the Mendoza region of Argentina for a highly drinkable, fruity and crisp rosé with hints of cherry and strawberry.

What are the prominent flavours and aromas of a good rose?

As pink wines are made from red grapes, the flavours are similar to red wines, yet lighter and crisper than heavier reds.

Rosé wine experts often cite the tasting notes as including strawberry, cherry, sweet melon, rose and rhubarb. Aromas commonly associated with rosé wines are rose petals, spicy cinnamon and citrus fruits.

Deeper shades of pink wine offer overtones of red berries and zesty orange, while a light pink hue will deliver flavours of melon, lemon and even celery!

How to serve rosé wine

Rosé should only be served chilled, so place the bottle in the fridge straight after purchase and chill for at least six hours before pouring a glass.  If you can’t wait that long our top tip is to place the bottle in the freezer for forty minutes!

Never add ice to wine to chill it faster. When the ice cubes melt, they will dilute the flavour and leave the wine tasting a little bland and unexciting.

Glasses with a narrow bowl and a long stem are recommended for serving rosé wines, as they release the aromas and keep the wine cooler for longer. Never wrap your hands around the bowl of a rosé wine glass, as this will increase the temperature of the liquid and reduce its cool crispness.

If you don’t have rosé wine glasses, a standard white wine glass with a long stem is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

Dry vs sweet?

Pink wines can range from very dry and crisp to syrupy sweet, and the location of the vineyard contributes to the sweetness of the wine.

New World wines tend to be sweeter, so if you prefer this flavour look for white Merlot, white Zinfandel or pink Moscato wines. Try this award-winning Californian Barefoot White Zinfandel, which is bursting with sweet pineapple and strawberry overtones that we guarantee will have you reaching for another glass.

Dry rosé wines are higher in tannins, which makes the wine taste crisper and more astringent. Old World wines such as the French La Vieille Ferme Rosé provide a balanced dry wine that offers real value at just £6.50 a bottle when purchased at Sainsbury’s.

The best food pairings for rosé wines

The light and fruity flavours make pink wines the perfect companion for a wide variety of meals. If you prefer a sweeter wine, serve rosé with grilled or barbecued red meat, a traditional roast dinner or soft cheeses such as brie.

Pair bolder rosé wines with seafood or fish – especially salmon – or chicken dishes and vegetarian meals.

As pink wines are best served chilled, it’s a popular choice for al fresco dining – and most rosés work incredibly well with a simple picnic or sushi platter.

Three rosé wines to try

If we’ve convinced you to give pink wines a try, then here are our top three rosés to enjoy:

  • Ultimate Provence Côtes de Provence Rosé: Refreshingly crisp, this French wine is dry, peppery, and created using Syrah and Rolle grapes for a bright, citrus flavour.
  • The Straw Hat Rosé: This light, easy-drinking wine has a medium body with notes of summer fruits and citrus, providing a fresh finish – and at just £4.00 per bottle it provides outstanding value for money too.
  • Blossom Hill Classics Crisp & Fruity Rose Wine: Bursting with the flavours of succulent strawberries and sweet cherries, this North American wine is perfect for pairing with pasta dishes.