by VineSleuth Contributing Writer, Steve Gross
Our Tasting Tour of French Wine adventure continues this week with French Rosé wines.
This month, as we are in the hottest heat of summer, we’re talking a lot about rosé wine here on VineSleuth Uncorked. It’s the best time of year to enjoy them! You might have seen the interview with Sommelier Vanessa Treviño-Boyd of Philippe in Houston or our post on pairing rosé wines earlier this summer.
How Rosés are Made
Rosé is made through a process wherein the skins are left with the crushed red grapes for a brief time, not long enough to get the deep red hues of regular red wine. The color of rosé wines can really vary quite a lot, from peach to copper to very bright, almost artificial-looking, red. It varies based on the grapes involved, the winemaking techniques, and the amount of contact between the skins and the juice.
Although France is the country most associated with rosé wines, you can now get them from all over the world. On a recent driving trip to West Texas, I tasted and bought an enjoyable rose from Becker Vineyards. They’re out there.
Where are Rosé Wines Made in France?
During the last month, I’ve been tasting rosé wines from all over France, from Bourdeaux to Tavel to Sancerre. Normally, you wouldn’t talk about such varied regions in one fell swoop, but I just want to give you an idea about what’s available when it comes to French rosé. Tavel, a village in the Southern Rhone Valley, and Anjou, in the Loire Valley, are the most famous rosé regions.
Rosé wines are made from the same grapes used in the red wines of the region where they are made. For instance, the beautiful Sancerre seen in the photo below was made from pinot noir. Rosé Bordeaux uses the same grapes used in red Bordeaux, etc.
How Much Do Rosé Wines Cost?
I tasted rosé wines from $8-25. There were more expensive wines available, such the rosé wine from Domaine Tempier ($49 at Houston Wine Merchant), but the wines I’ll be sharing with you will tend to be found in the more wallet-friendly range.
What can I expect from a French Rosé?
The wines I tasted showed quite a lot of variation; from highly acidic, even metallic, to fleshy and lush. The biggest surprise to me came when I drank wines over several hours.
Since rosé wines are normally consumed in the hotter months of the year, serving them cold seems part and parcel of the experience. However, I found that I enjoyed the wines’ full spectrum of flavors and aromas much more as they warmed up. I made it a point to taste each wine immediately after removing them from the refrigerator, then 30 minutes later, then 15 minutes after that. There was quite a difference in what I tasted and smelled. (I am looking forward to sharing my tasting notes with you soon!)
What I found: take your time over a summer bottle of rosé. It’s a languid time of year, so go with it. Enjoy each glass slowly with your favorite picnic meals. Have an easy, relaxed conversation, and enjoy the easy, relaxed feelings that accompany a French rosé.
Next time, I’ll discuss the wines I tasted this month in more detail…
Are there any French rosé wines you particularly enjoy? Tell us about them…