The Different Types of Rose Wines
Different Types of Organic Rosé Wine
In this article, we explore the many different types of organic rosé wine, explore food pairings with organic rosé wine and delve into the history of different rosé wines so you can select the best option for you. With so many options to explore, discover our organic rosé wine favourites below!
Are there different types of organic rosé wine?
Yes, absolutely! Rosé wines can be light to medium-bodied and can range from the steely dry to the softer and fruitier. Though mostly still, you can also find delicious sparkling pinks, from Prosecco to Champagne.
You can make rosé wine from pretty much any red grape and given that there are thousands of grape varieties globally, that makes for no shortage of flavour profiles
As is true with all wines, the winemaking style, the climate, and vinification all make for very different wines. Though many rosé wines are vinified in stainless steel, you will find those that have seen a touch of oak that can add texture and weight to the wine.
Just as dogs aren’t only for Christmas, so it is true that rosé wines are not just for summer. Some of the more serious Provence rosé wines have great complexity and offer a refreshing alternative to white wines with food all-year round. Equally, a rich pink from Rioja or a cabernet-dominated example such as Domaine Bousquet Rosé can be just as delicious with a meal that you might normally serve with a red.
All our organic rosé wines from around the world can be described as dry. We currently do not stock any sweeter rosé wines – a common example of this style would be white zinfandel.
Rosé wine colours
We buy with our eyes, don’t we? Rosé wines usually come in clear glass bottles, to show off their delicate and attractive colours. We have already learnt about the different ways to make rosé (see earlier section), and to some extent, the winemaker determines the finished colour. It can range from the faintest and barely perceptible pink, through to the dark crimson, bordering on red. This latter style is often called Clairet, is dry and mainly originates from the Bordeaux (claret) region of France. It is where pink virtually can become red.
Over recent years rosé wines have become ever more popular. Some might say fashionable, and the ‘fashion’ seems to have gone towards the paler end of pink, or ‘Provence style’. Winemakers around the world are quick to cotton on to what is selling, and these days are copying the paler pink colours, as it will help sales.
How is rosé wine made?
The winemaking behind rosé wine has been considerably refined over the centuries and now there are three methods:
Direct Pressing: The distinctive pink hue comes from the time the grape juice spends with the red grape skins and in this technique, the time allowed is short, with the grapes being pressed straight away. Due to the speed, direct pressing typically yields the palest of the pinks.
Saignée: This French term for the making of rosé means ‘bleeding’. The juice is fermented just as it would be for red wine but in the early stages of maceration, the winemaker draws off a proportion of the juice that has gained some colour, continues with the fermentation, and turns it into rosé wine.
Skin Maceration: The most common practice in rosé winemaking. If you cut a white grape and a red grape in half and you’ll notice that in both the flesh is white. The colour in red wine comes from the pigments in the grapes’ skins. For rosé, the juice is left in contact with the skins for as long as it takes to achieve the colour and texture that the winemaker is looking for. As you might expect, the longer the skin time, the darker the colour. The juice is vinified once the skins have been removed.
Is organic rosé wine sweet?
Rosé wines come in all styles, from the bone dry to the decidedly sweet. Some are technically dry but made from very ripe grapes that give the suggestion of sweetness, whilst others are more linear and crisper.
A Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé such as the one from Domaine Bousquet has ladles of ripe, blue summer fruit and whilst dry, is wonderfully generous. In a similar vein is the Adobe Rosé Reserva, which is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
How long does organic rosé wine last?
In general, organic rosé wine is made to be drunk in a year or two after it has been bottled. These wines are all about giving immediate, fruity pleasure.
That said, there are exceptions to the rule and some rosé wines made in Bandol, France can age impressively over many, many years. There are also some producers across the globe who are making more ‘structured’ rosé wines, with oak ageing with the potential to age over three or so years.
The best organic rosé wines to age are Champagne Rosés which can age majestically and beautifully, developing great nuance and complexity of flavour. If you’re the patient type, you can experiment with the Champagne Fleury Rosé
Best food pairings for organic rosé wine
As we have mentioned before, the key to successful food and wine pairing is to match, as best you can, the weight of the food to the weight of the wine. That, and to drink and eat what you enjoy.
If you’re looking for ideas here are five favourites.
A fruity Korma seems to slip down a treat with a fruity, medium-bodied pink organic wine. Try: Domaine de Rousset Rosé
Have pals round for a slice of cake or a fruity muffin? Why don’t you teach the teacups and go for an organic sparkling pink instead? Try: Luisa Merlot Spumante
An organic Provence Rosé with grilled salmon and fresh puréed peas is one of life’s great pleasures. Try: Rosé de Leoube
Cooking with Halloumi or other salty cheeses often leads to a dry rosé wine being opened. Try: Rosé de Leoube
There’s nothing quite like rustling up some homemade vegetable tempura. Reward the effort with a crisp, fruity English organic rosé wine such as the Oxney Pinot Noir Rosé.
Organic rosé wine and cooking
There’s an unusual reticence to using pink wine in cooking, for no good reason whatsoever! Just as red, white, sparkling, and sweet wines are common ingredients in any cook’s kitchen, our pink vinous friend can be an equally delicious contributor to the dishes we make.
The advice about which wine to use is no different than for any other colour of wine. A fuller-bodied, riper rosé will bring more flavour to your recipe, whilst a crisper, zestier pink will add zip and freshness. It’s up to you to decide what qualities you’re looking for.
From experience, we have learnt that a rosé that has ripe, sweet fruit and perhaps a touch of residual sugar is probably not ideal in a spring green vegetable risotto but can work a treat in a creamy chicken sauce.
If you’re looking for ideas, here’s a trio of tried and tested recipes we have found online.
Rosé-Steamed Mussels, were a big hit… just that extra bit of ‘kick’ in the sauce.
Organic rosé wine of choice: Mas de Longchamp Rosé
Beetroot & Rosé Pink Risotto was arguably the best-coloured meal in the kitchen for this blog! Yummy too. We didn’t use tinned beetroot, instead picking our own and roasting it instead.
Organic rosé wine of choice: Viña Ijalba Rioja Rosé
Coq au Vin Rosé as done by The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen is set to become a repeat recipe! Loved it.
Organic rosé wine of choice: Jas d’Esclans Rosé
Grape varieties and their organic rosé wines
Comparatively low in tannins and acidity but with oodles of bright summer fruit flavours, grenache (aka Garnacha in Spain) makes brilliantly expressive rosé wine. Mas de Longchamp Rosé is a fine example of a grenache-dominant pink and we love it with stuffed vine leaves and tzatziki sauce.
The bold-flavoured syrah is often found as part of a blend in rosé wines, giving the wines good colour and plenty of structure. We often find that where syrah plays a part, the wines pair well with most robustly flavoured foods; maybe even chilli or pizza! The Adobe Rosé Reserva would be a good example.
Spain is one of the most important countries for rosé wine production and tempranillo is their star performer! The wines are typically summer berry flavoured with bright acidity. Light tapas dishes and grilled vegetables are an ideal accompaniment. Try the Wild Thing Rosé; a classic tempranillo with the added bonus of a charitable donation being made to the Born Free Foundation every time a bottle is sold.
A tricky grape to grow, it’s worth the effort for the elegant wines it so often yields. Crunchy and bright, pinot rosé wines tend to be subtle with aromas of wet stone, cherries and raspberries. We have had many happy lunches of goat’s cheese salad with a bottle of Silent Pool Rosé which has a splash of Pinot Meunier in it too!
A bit of rosé history!
The Ancient Greeks thought that diluting wine was the only way to drink it and would add water to both red wines and white wines. Grapes of both colours were often crushed together, and the resulting juice would ferment into pink-coloured juice. These ‘rosé’ wines were immensely popular and remained so even when the move to separate fermentation, by colour, was made.
Come the sixth century, Marseille had been planted with vines by the Phoenicians and the wines being made were again a blend of both white and red varieties. These wines were shipped around Europe by the Romans who made the area famous for their delicious rosé. It is a reputation that has endured, and the south of France remains a hot bed of some of the world’s finest pink wines.