Rosé wine: why is it pink? - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

Chilled rosés are light, but still flavourful, and are ideal for sipping on a hot day. That's why more rosé wines are sold during the summer than at any other time of the year. But how are rosé wines made?

Grape juice from white and red grapes is green. Most of a wine’s flavour and colour comes not from the juice, but from the skins of the grapes. Add yeast into a vat of grape juice from a ‘red wine’ grape such as Cabernet Sauvignon and you’ll end up with a white wine. To get a bit of colour into it, red grape skins need to be put into the brew.

The longer they are left in, the more colour and flavour is leached out. For a delicate rose-coloured wine like Rosé D’Anjou the grape skins are left in the wine for just a few hours. Leave the skins in for up to three days and even more of the grape’s colour and flavour will move into the wine – the resulting dark-coloured rosé could be mistaken for a light red.

Too little soaking will result in a flavourless wine while too much can result in 'off' aromas. The light strawberry flavours and raspberry aromas of the best rosés are due as much to the skill and judgment of the winemaker as the quality of the grapes.

So what is the optimum temperature to drink a rosé? Rosés drunk straight from the fridge are refreshing but you may not be tasting them at their best. They taste best slightly cool rather than chillingly cold so take them out of the fridge 15 minutes before you serve them. That way they'll have a chance to warm up by 2 or 3 degrees and reach a temperature of about 8 degrees Centigrade.

What was once an indifferent rosé can then turn into very enjoyable light wine that tastes of pureed strawberry sprinkled with vanilla sugar. Rosé wines need to be treated with respect and served at a cool temperature - perfect for wine lovers who want an aperitif.

Latest wine reviews

Email newsletter

Get the latest wine reviews
and tips straight to your inbox


About WineUncorked and its editor, Paula Goddard Read more