Rosé: The Complete Guide

In recent years, rosé wine has experienced a resurgence in popularity. From poolside parties to elegant dinners, this vibrant and versatile wine has become a staple in the glasses of wine enthusiasts around the world. 

Rosé: The Complete Guide

If you’re only used to red and white wine, you might be wondering exactly what rosé is. There are so many different types of rosé wine available as well, so choosing the best bottle to try can be a very confusing process!

Different rosé wines are good for different occasions so choosing the right one is essential.

In this complete guide, we will delve deep into the world of rosé, exploring its origins, production methods, and the different styles and flavors that make it a beloved choice among wine lovers.

Whether you’re a seasoned wine drinker or a curious novice, this article aims to satisfy your thirst for knowledge and expand your understanding of this captivating wine.

What is Rosé?

Rosé wine comes in a variety of different colors. You will find rosé in shades that range from almost red, through a variety of pinks, and to a color that is almost white.

But other than these beautiful and subtle colors, exactly what is rosé wine and how is it different from red and white wine?

Also known as pink wine, rosé wine is produced in a way that is quite similar to the production of red wines.

Both of these wines are made by destemming and crushing grapes so that the skin remains in contact with the grape juice while the wine is fermenting.

However, when rosé wine is made, the red grape skins spend less time in contact with the grape juice and this is what leads to the lighter color of rosé wine. This color leaching process is what gives rosé wine its lovely shades.

Characteristics Of Rosé

Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of rosé wine. There are many different types of rosé wine so these characteristics are a range and each bottle will be a little different!

The most obvious characteristic of rosé wine is the color. Most rosé wine bottles are made from clear glass so that the stunning color of the wine can be clearly seen.

Rosé wine can be found in common colors such as salmon pink, copper gold, raspberry red, and strawberry pink.

The average alcohol content of rosé wine is 12 percent and the vast majority of rosé wines will slot between 11 to 13 percent ABV. This is a little lower than white and red wine which can commonly hit 14 percent.

It’s also, of course, a lot lower than spirits such as whiskey, vodka, and brandy.

Taste Of Rosé

Rosé wine can be made from a variety of different red grapes so each brand will taste different from the next. They do all share some characteristics, however.

You can expect rosé wine to have a fruity flavor. The most common and predominant flavors of rosé wine include strawberries, raspberries, citrus, flowers, and melon.

Rosé wines are generally pretty light but they can be either sweet or dry depending on how the wine is made. Rosé wines that are made by having the grape skins in contact with the juice for a longer period of time will be sweeter

Age Of Rosé

Many different types of wine need to be aged and their tastes improve with age. However, this isn’t always the case with rosé wine.

In many cases, the general rule is to drink rosé wine as young as possible and this was the main train of thought for rosé wine for years.

There are several varieties of rosé wine on the market now that will benefit from being drunk when they’re a little older. This is the case with many higher-end rosé wines that are made by the best wine producers.

The change is related to how rosé wine is produced and treated. Some of the higher-quality brands have taken steps to improve their processes so that rosé wine can become a more premium type of wine.

These improvements have led to rosé wine having a longer shelf life and have opened up the possibilities of aging rosé wine. Previously, rosé wine oxidized pretty quickly so it was never suited for aging.

If you’re not sure whether your rosé wine should be drunk young or aged, it is best to check a wine guide. As a general rule, most low or mid-priced rosé wines should be drunk young whereas more expensive rosé wines might have the potential to be aged.

What Regions Are Known For Producing Rosé?

There are many countries around the world that are famous for producing wines. Many of their own specialties and some countries regularly produce better rosé wines than others. Our favorite countries for producing rosé wines are:

  • France – the majority of the most popular and well-respected rosé wines come from France. If you want to start your rosé journey with a quality wine, then you should start with a wine from France. French rosé wines are typically light and have delicate flavors
  • Italy – Italian rosé wine is known for being light and refreshing. They’re the ideal choice for a refreshing glass of wine on a hot day
  • Spain – Spanish rosé wines are more intense than their Italian and French counterparts. You will get a bolder and fruiter rosé if you opt for a bottle from Spain
  • Australia – Australian rosé wines are sweeter than those from many other countries and are another ideal choice for summer
  • United States – the US produces a wide range of different rosé wines so there is no single characteristic that they all share. American rosé wines are becoming better with every year that passes and shouldn’t be overlooked

Different Types Of Rosé

Different types of grapes are used to make rosé wine and they all result in a wine that is a little different. Let’s take a look at these different wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon 

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most common grape varieties used in wine production as it thrives in virtually every significant wine-producing nation. Although it is mainly known for Bordeaux wines, it also makes very delightful rosé wines.

For those seeking a dry and sophisticated wine with a touch of acidity, this particular variety is sure to be a favorite. While retaining the fruity characteristics inherent in all rosés, cabernet sauvignon rosé also has a subtle citrus twist.


Grenache is one of the most common grapes used in the production of red wines. It thrives in hot and arid climates and creates red wines that are characterized by a gentle spiciness and a soft, fruity flavor. They usually have a higher alcohol content as well.

Many of these characteristics carry over to grenache rosés as well. These rosé wines have a vibrant and invigorating flavor that is highlighted by layers of strawberries and pomegranate as well as subtle hints of spice. 


Merlot is a highly popular dark blue wine grape that is primarily known for its usage in red wine production. It’s also frequently used to create a rosé that has a naturally soft, juicy, and fruity flavor.

Merlot rosés, unlike their intense red counterparts, have a more subtle color of salmon pink.  The wines have the beautiful aroma of strawberry and apricot, as well as delicate floral notes reminiscent of rosé and acacia.


These rosé wines are made from the Muscat family of grapes. Moscato rosé wines have a light strawberry pink color with a red berry aroma. They have a strong fruity flavor and are a little acidic.

Moscato rosé wines are ideal accompaniments to food but are also delicious on their own. We recommend serving them chilled.


Originating from the Piedmont region, this Italian grape variety is known for its intricate nature and is typically harvested during periods of dense fog to achieve optimal freshness.

Nebbiolo rosé wines are known for their complexity, offering enticing citrus notes, a superb mouthfeel, and a refreshing finish. These rosés also have an enticing color and feature a warm floral gradient that embellishes every bottle.

Pinot Noir

Pinot noir, named for its black-skinned color and the clustered formation of grapes resembling pine cones, is the most common type of grape that is used in the production of sparkling wine.

This is despite its earned reputation as a challenging grape to grow and cultivate in winemaking due to its clustered growth pattern.

The reason why so many plant pinot noir grapes despite these difficulties is because of the end results. Pinot noir rosés diverge from the vibrant, berry-focused pink appearance commonly found in other rosé wines and instead of a ruby-blush hue.

The flavor profile of pinot noir rosés reminds the drinker of watermelons.


Sangiovese is predominantly an Italian grape variety and is often employed in various famous Italian wine blends such as Chianti and Carmignano.

Sangiovese rosé wines are dry and skillfully blend the sweet and tangy characteristics of cranberry and pomegranate. The result is an explosive wine that has a spicy tannin finish.


Shiraz is commonly used in Australian wines and is found in various regions across the country. It’s also grown in other countries across the world and produces delicious rosé wines.

Shiraz rosés really come into their own as a summer wine. They’re refreshing and have flavors reminiscent of raspberries and cream, accompanied by notes of cherries and a subtle touch of spice.


Zinfandel is typically found in regions like California, Apulia, and Dalmatia. It’s a black-skinned grape and although it is used for making red wines, it is also used in the production of a particular type of rosé called White Zinfandel.

White Zinfandel is renowned for its generally sweeter taste, pinker hue, and lesser complexity in comparison to other rosé varieties. It is considered an excellent choice for those who are new to rosé, as it is not as intense in terms of both flavor and alcohol content.

How Is Rosé Made?

There are three common ways to make rosé wine.


This is a simple method where red wine grapes are allowed to rest in their juices for a period of time, usually around 2 to 20 hours.

The juice is then processed to make a rosé wine. Usually, rosé wine produced through this method has darker hues and a richer flavor.

This is probably the most common method for making rosé wine. It’s commonly used in French rosé wines.

Saignée Or “Bled” Method

In the Saignée method, juice is bled off the making of red wine only a few hours into the process. This separated wine is then placed into a new vat to make rosé wine instead of red.

This method not only produces delicious rosé wines but can also increase the intensity of the red wine as well.

This is a much rarer method for making rosé wine. It’s more commonly used in wine regions that produce a lot of fine red wine but even so, it will only account for around 10 percent of the wine produced by a vineyard.

Blending Method

As the name suggests, this method involves blending red and white wine to make rosé wine. This type of rosé wine doesn’t have much red wine involved as typically, only around five percent of the end result will be made from red wine.

This method is more common in regions that make sparkling wine but it is still pretty rare. The most famous rosé wine made this way is Ruinart’s rosé Champagne.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we took a deep dive into rosé wine. We explained what rosé wine is, how it appears, and what it tastes like. We introduced the regions that produce rosé wine and how their wines taste and then explained the nine different grapes used for rosé wine.

Sarah Perez
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