Helpful Tips for Buying Rosé
Updated: Sep 30, 2021
It's June, which means summer's in full swing.... and where there are hot, sunny days, there are sure to be chilled, fruity rosés. But this begs the question: how do you know which one to buy in a sea of blush colored beverages?
The world of rosé can be overwhelming: from pale pink to nearly red, from still to sparkling, and from sweet to dry, there is no shortage of opportunities when it comes to this pink aperitif. No fear, Corkers, here are my 5 EASY tips for choosing a rosé you will love.
1. Decode the sweetness: It may take a bit of experimentation to find out if you tend towards sweeter options or if you prefer a drier style, but once you learn what you love, it will much easier to make a purchase that fits your taste profile. Craving something sweet? Look for an ABV of less than 11.5% on the label. Desiring something dry? A higher ABV will be more likely to be up your alley.
2. We like 'em young: Ok, so it sounds a bit strange, but when it comes to rosé, it's so true! This style of wine doesn't age particularly well, so it's a safe bet to buy something young, as in, the vintage from the previous year. For example, in the year 2021, I'm going to look for a bottle that says 2020. For high quality producers, you can extend this timeframe, but as a general rule of thumb, stick to something recent!
3. Find grapes that are your jam! Generally speaking, most rosé is made the same way as red wine, it just spends less time in contact with the skins during fermentation. Since the skins of the grape give red wine its coloration, less contact time with them (aka "short maceration") will result in a less-red (aka pink) wine. Long story short, this process can be completed with any red grape varietal, and its the grape that gives a wine its primary flavor profile. To get real simplistic about it, a rosé made from Grenache will taste like Grenache (strawberry, pomegranate, and hibiscus) while one made from Pinot Noir will taste like Pinot Noir (strawberry, raspberry, and cherry). Keep in mind, most rosé wines are fermented and stored in vessels that do not impart flavor like oak barrels do. That being said, if you love the oak notes- like vanilla, cedar, cloves, and smoke in your red wine, you're not likely to find them in a rosé of the same varietal. That's what makes them so crisp, refreshing, and perfect for summer!
How can you identify the grape varietal? This is a good question, as many wines from Europe are labelled by region instead of by grape. But don't fret! Take it from a gal who was new to the wonderful world of wine last year, here are the tips and tricks that helped me decode what's in the bottle:
-Start with the label. Many labels (even some European ones) will list the grape varietal on either the front or back label.
-Download a free app like Vivino, which pulls up the grapes, region, average price, and taste profile of nearly any wine...simply by scanning the label!
-Ask for help! I've found that most folks employed at wine shops have a passion for it and are full of knowledge they're happy to impart on anyone who wants to learn.
4. Hone in on a region or two you love: It may take a bit of trial and error to find your favorite corner of the globe, but the wine region can tell you a lot about what flavors you can expect. Not sure where to start? Here's a tip: stay in the Old World (Spain, Italy, France) if you enjoy pale, delicate, and higher acid wines. If your mouth waters for something fruity with berry aromas and vibrant color, venture to the New World (think US, Australia, South America...)
Still stumped? Here are a few of my favorite regions for rosé:
-Provence: the Birkin Bag of the rosé world (only without the hefty price tag!) This region makes the world's most prestigious rosés. These wines are usually lighter in color and body and higher in acid so they are perfect for poolside sipping (think lemonade!) Prices can vary anywhere from $10-$50 or more and they are DELISH, often featuring floral and exotic fruit notes.
-Loire: This region boasts a host of unique rosé options from refined bubblies to spunky natural wines and from a variety of grapes - from Pinot Noir to Cabernet Franc to Gamay, and many more in between. Definitely worth exploring!
-Oregon: this great state offers little pockets of perfect climate for grapes like Pinot Noir to thrive, and they produce some outstanding rosé wines! Try a Viognier/Pinot Noir blend for a delicious and refreshing bouquet of watermelon, citrus, and strawberry cream.
5. Go "Grower" or Go Home: If you're really looking for a high-quality wine (and this goes for every style of wine), stay away from mass-produced big brand names. In other words, if the label is graced with a giant foot or a hopping marsupial, the wine may have been produced using techniques like color manipulation and other less-than-desirable methods to enhance the taste and appearance of your beverage.
Don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with buying from a high-volume producer. But if you've found time and time again that you're just not jubilant about the juice, try a "grower" wine (one that was grown, fermented, and bottled by the producer.) These wines offer a higher level of quality and can sometimes be identified on the label with terms like "estate bottled". A Vineyard Designation on the label is also a good indication of a high-quality option.
Now that you're armed with my 5 easy tips for buying your perfect rosé, hop, skip, and jump over to your nearest wine shop and put your skills to the test! Don't forget to drop me a comment below and let me know what you've purchased...I'd love to hear from you!
Follow me on Instagram @thecandidcork for more tips and tricks, and click here to join the Corker Community mailing list; you'll be the first to know about new blogs, giveaways, recipes, and more!
Thanks for being here with me; until next time-