What are the main styles of rosé wine and their regions?
In the world of rosé, France continues to dominate. From an array of grapes grown on diverse soils and available in a range of diverse hues, there's a lot more to these wines than 'rosé all day'. Read on for a short guide to the main styles of rosé wine and the French regions that make them
1 - Languedoc wines
Languedoc, the largest wine-growing region in the world, is France's leading producer of rosé. Recent figures suggest it accounts for around 34% of the country's rose wine and around 11% of the world's rosé production.
Languedoc is large, with many sub-sites and appellations that vary in terms of the composition of the soil, preferably varietal and close to the sea. However, a few general conditions allow ideal dew production, such as a generally dry and warm Mediterranean climate with abundant sunshine and strong and moderate winds of maritime or mountain influence.
Produced using the bleeding method, Languedoc rosés tend to feature ripe, shiny red fruit, balanced by lively acidity and a crisp, refreshing finish. There are single-variety bottlings, but blends of the main red grapes of the region, such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan, are more common.
2 - Wines of Provence
In two decades, Provençal rosé has become the world reference. Almost white in color and in the world's most stunning range of luxury bottles, the big offerings are fresh and fruity, crisp and dry.
Relatively low in alcohol, these pale pink wines are made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and sometimes Mourvèdre. Gooseberry fruit tasting and just a hint of pepper, they scream summer, even in winter. Located along the Mediterranean coast, Provence has four appellations that each produce distinct rosés.
3 - Wines from the Rhône Valley
From summer reliefs to centuries-old icons, rosé from the Rhône Valley offers a wide and fascinating spectrum. Throughout the region, more often than not, you will find delicious flavors of cherries and strawberries by the Grenache. Co-fermentations with Syrah, Mourvèdre or Cinsault are common, and many examples include small proportions of white grapes. In 1936, Tavel became the first and only controlled designation of origin (AOC) for rosé. Intensely rosé and concentrated in flavor, Tavel is closer to a delicate red wine than a standard rosé.Longer maceration on the grape skins, typically 12 to 24 hours, produces hues ranging from fiery sunset to fuschia and even ruby Tavel's penetrating red fruit flavors, fine tannins and undertones of earth and spices are perfect pairings for hearty meat or game dishes. Tavel is one of the few rosé offerings that can improve with age. Although the deep-hued rosé has proliferated throughout the region, it is increasingly known for its lighter, delicately fruity, sipping-friendly styles.
4 - Bordeaux wines
Bordeaux rosé has come a long way, and fast. Where wines were once dull and tasted more caramel than fruit, today is a different world. Previously, Bordeaux rosés were after vinification red and usually produced saignée, or drained juice from freshly picked grapes, usually Merlot.
Instead, vineyards are now designated for rosé. Their grapes are picked earlier and are handled differently than they would be for red wine. The resulting wines are classic Bordeaux blends or, even better, made entirely from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. They cater to a share of the world's demand for fresh, fresh and crisp rosé in pale color, offering fruitiness and just a bare amount of structure. Traffic jams often have a slight blue tint, a result of the region's oceanic climate and soil.
5 - Loire Valley wines
As always, the Loire Valley is synonymous with diversity. The region produces many red, white and sparkling wines, as well as any style of rosé you might like.
The central Loire, close to the city of Orléans, is a land of chalk, rolling hills and narrow river valleys, where water adds increasing degrees of heat. The vines of Sancerre, Menetou-Salon and Coteaux Giennois produce high quality wines. A typical Sancerre rosé brings rich cherry Pinot Noir fruitiness paired with a mineral, crisp texture, with the potential to age for two or three years.
Red currants and spice characterize those from Chinon and Bourgueil in Touraine. These wines will carry you through the year and work best with food. The Rosé de Loire and Val de Loire appellations cover Anjou and Touraine. Taking advantage of the cool climate of the Loire, both have increased the quality of dry rosé production in recent years. The result is lightly textured, immediately drinkable, crisp and fruity wines with flavors of raspberry and red currant.
Anjou rosés, grown near the Atlantic, are made from an amazing variety of grapes: Grolleau, Gamay , Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Pineau d'Aunis. Their style is at the discretion of the producer. Touraine focuses on Gamay, the grape for all seasons. — R.V.