The world of rosé is one of balance and nuance, qualities that require a certain sensibility to be appreciated. Rosé can be light and frivolous, but it can also be complex and structured. It can accompany a summer aperitif or a robust dinner. Are you a rosé enthusiast wanting to know more about how the wine is made and the most appropriate ways of describing it?
Read on to discover all the secrets of rosé.
What are the origins of rosé wine?
Rosé began in Italy during the Second World War: in 1943, the Leone De Castris winery in Salento produced the first Five Roses. Made with 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera, it is still extremely popular in Italy and the United States. Rosé is effectively a wine produced from red grapes by a process of vinification in bianco but allowing the skins to macerate with the must for a shorter time. This gives the wine its pink colour.
After this, the process is the same as for vinification in bianco: fermentation in steel and concrete vats rather than wood, racking off and bottling. Because of the low polyphenol content and the tendency to quickly lose acidity and aroma, rosé wines are not suitable for ageing in the bottle and are best consumed within two years of harvest.
The maceration time, grape variety and ageing affect the colour, which can vary from onion-skin to almost red. The growing area and the grape used obviously contribute to the wine's appearance and properties in the glass.
Where are rosé wines made, and which grapes are used? The world's best sparkling pink wines use a royal grape: Pinot Noir. In Franciacorta and Trentino DOC - as in Champagne - the rosé version has body, structure, acidity and depth. It’s a rich, full-bodied wine. Other areas with a long-established tradition of rosé production are Salento, which we mentioned previously, and Bardolino, on the Verona shore of Lake Garda, where Corvina is the predominant grape variety.
How to describe a rosé wine?
Wine is also about conviviality and happiness, because drinking it is always a pleasure, especially in excellent company! But... are we sure we know how to describe a wine? And what its characteristics are? We often find ourselves sampling an excellent glass of wine without fully understanding what we're drinking and why the label describes it as "smooth", "bright" or "acidulous". Since today we've taken a little trip to discover rosé wine, let's look at the language used to describe it.
Rounded: wine that stands out for its smoothness, sugar content and moderate acidity.
Acidulous: a nuance of acidity that gives a sensation of freshness; used to describe a wine with fairly prominent and noticeable acidity.
Smooth: one of the most sought-after characteristics, this refers to the harmony between the sweet elements of the wine - sugars and glycerine - and the more acidic tannin flavours.
Velvety: evokes the image of a wine smooth as velvet, which caresses the palate. A tactile sensation to express an oral perception and display extreme appreciation of a wine.
Light: low alcohol and little colour, although such a wine may be thirst-quenching and pleasant to drink.
Harmonious: a wine that has all the flavour elements in perfect balance. This occurs when a wine reaches the perfect state of ageing.
Bright: with the typical glossy highlights of a clear wine and a brilliant colour.
Delicate: describes a wine with characteristic harmony, refinement and quality.
Don't miss more about rosé wine in the next issue of our magazine: we'll talk more about this delightful drink, the best wines produced in the Lake Garda area and the perfect pairings with food.