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Wine House Hunter Valley

Suzanne Little
September 10, 2021 | Suzanne Little

Pretty in Pink

The French call it Rosé, the Italians Rosato, the Spanish Rosado. Which does kind of make you wonder why we here in Australia don’t simply call it Pink?

Anyway, not to worry. The fact is Rosé is huge in Australia, but the plethora of styles, varieties and shades of pink can be a little confusing. Whilst we can’t give you clear cut rules to help you choose the perfect drop, we can at least bust a few myths: 

Myth #1 - Rosé is made by mixing red and white wine together

Whilst this technique exists it is not how most rosés are made. Red wine spends a long time on skins (which is why it is red) and this increases the amount of tannin in the wine. Blending white wine with the red wine will dilute these tannins but the resulting wine will still be gripper than desired and is a less than ideal technique.

Most rosé is made by using the juice from red grapes (which starts out white) and giving it a short amount of time in contact with the red skins. The amount of time it spends in contact with the red skins is how winemakers ‘dial’ up or down the colour. Given the current trend for very pale rosés this is usually only a matter of hours. Which leads us to myth #2…

Myth #2 – The colour of Rosé is a good indication of how it will taste

Depending on the variety the rosé is made from, just a few extra hours on skins can give the wine a much deeper colour. But that extra time on skins doesn’t have a huge effect on the flavour profile of the resulting wine. Which means you can have a deeply coloured rosé which will taste just as light and fruity as a very pale rosé.

However! Rosés made from different varieties will have different colours as well as different flavour profiles. For instance, rosés made from Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo can have a slight orange tinge to them and tend to be more savoury whereas rosés made from Shiraz and Grenache will be a brighter shade of pink and can have more of a confectionary lift.

Myth # 3 Rosés are low in alcohol (this can be a dangerous one)

Rosé is pink and pretty and oh so fruity and we love drinking it at lunchtime so it’s low in alcohol right? Not necessarily! Rosé is made from red grapes and most winemakers will wait until the grapes are fully ripe to get the best flavours. So unless the rosé is a sweeter style (that is, not all the sugar has been converted to alcohol) then the rosé can be anywhere from 12.0 to 14.5% alcohol so be sure to check the label!

So now that you are rosé enlightened (or thoroughly confused) perhaps it’s time to pour a glass and soothe your aching brain. Check out our Rosé page to see the fabulous collection of new release rosés made by some of our favourite winemakers. Simply chill, enjoy and clock off. After all, it’s just pink wine!   



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