Spring in pink: the revenge of rosé wines

Article by Carla Benvenuto

Spring is on its way and with it, in addition to the change of season and the higher temperatures, other types of wines get selected. Like the rosé wines, for example, which in recent years have become more popular, acquiring more and more notoriety and fame on the Italian wine scene.

But how is rosé wine made?

Production techniques

The banned urban legend that rosé is obtained by blending white and red wine has been outdated. As a matter of fact mixing white and red to obtain a rosé wine is an illegal practice.  There are two legitimate techniques to produce it.

The first consists of a process that starts off as producing a red wine, that is with the pressing and maceration of the must in contact with the skins which. However if you want to produce a rosé, skin contact lasts much less (from a few hours to a maximum of two days) compared to what happens for the reds. Then we proceed following the same steps of the white vinification: fermentation in steel or cement (never wood), racking, bottling, etc …

Another technique is called the saignèe or “bleeding” method, that is a certain amount of red must is taken from the maceration tank in which a red wine is being prepared. The part of must taken is vinified using the white wine technique and therefore a rosé wine will be obtained.

In France, on the other hand, “vins gris” are widespread, which are not gray wines as the name might mislead, but are actually rosé wines with a paler color than the Italian ones. They are obtained from grapes with a low coloring capacity (such as, for example, Cinsaut Rose or Cisnaut Grische) which are vinified following the same procedures as white vinification. So there is no maceration on the skins and the colour is achieved exclusively by pressing.

In America, on the other hand, the “blush wines” are famous, obtained from the white vinification of red berried grapes (among the most used is Zinfandel) which have a fairly sweet taste and are characterized by a slight effervescence which makes them ideal wines to drink during an aperitif.

Another type of rosé wines are the so-called “one night wines” and “one day wines”, the former obtained from a maceration of the must from 6 to 12 hours, and the latter from a 24 hour maceration. Their characteristic is that of having a very intense color, almost tending to red.

Characteristics of rosé wines

The colour palette of rosé wines ranges from a pale pink, to a cherry pink, passing through a light pink, salmon pink, onion skin… and so on. The names and gradations are many and often very imaginative, so much so that some have given their names to famous wines such as Chiaretto DOC or Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC.

The aromas of this type of wine are very delicate: they range from fruity notes of raspberry, pomegranate, grapefruit, cherry, wild strawberries, to more floral hints that usually refer to geranium, rose, jasmine.

They usually have a fresh, light taste, some may have barely hinted tannins, balanced acidity, flavor, minerality. In short, they are really pleasant and refreshing wines, to be drunk young and at the right temperature (10-12 degrees).

Very versatile also in the combinations, rosé wines undoubtedly lend themselves to accompanying aperitifs, fish-based or vegan appetizers, risottos and simple first courses, white meats, cold cuts, sushi, and lately very popular is the combination with pizza. Usually they turn out to be the right compromise when you are undecided between red and white.

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC – Rosarubra

Surely when it comes to rosé wines, one of the first wines that comes to mind is Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Doc, obtained from Montepulciano grapes and produced exclusively in the provinces of Chieti, L’Aquila, Pescara and Teramo.

One of the best expressions of Cerasuolo D’Abruzzo is that of the Rosarubra estate winery, with its innate elegance and refinement. A fresh and lively Cerasuolo.

Obtained from 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grapes harvested manually and from an 8-hour maceration on the skins, it undergoes a white vinification with a slow fermentation of about 20 days and then continues the refinement in steel.

In the glass it has a very intense and bright pink colour, its nose ranges from fruity notes of strawberry, red fruits and sour cherries, to cherry blossoms and notes of rose. The taste is harmonious, embracing, characterized by a nice freshness, vibrant acidity with medium persistence.

A perfectly balanced wine able to accompany the whole meal, but which goes very well with pizza, or with a platter of cold cuts and cheeses, but also with fish-based first courses or with a simple plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce.

Rosé wines are eclectic. Versatile wines that always prove to be the winning choice now that the summer season begins and we begin to prefer leaner and less structured dishes than typical winter meals.

But they are also great to be enjoyed alone, perhaps while enjoying a sunset overlooking the sea. They hide that romantic note, which fortunately has encouraged those more skepitical wine consumers to make a different choice.

Will rosé wines eventually conquer the world?