We hear a lot about the increasing popularity of rosé wine in Australia, but what is driving this demand? Is it our winemakers who are treating this style of wine with as much care as their top red and white wines leading to higher quality wines? Is it the Millennials driving the demand? Is it the increase in celebrity owned brands? Or have consumers realised that this is just an amazing wine that can be enjoyed on its own or with a variety of foods?
Winemakers have shifted from bleeding off excess red wine juice (saignée) to treating specific red grape varieties with great care, perfect timing and increasing expertise to create incredible examples of rosé wine. We believe that this has played a large part in the resurgence of this style of wine.
Provence in the South of France has been widely known for producing exquisite examples of elegant, lean styles of rosé. We have definitely seen a shift amongst Margaret River producers from the sweeter, redder styles of rosé to these more elegant Provençal styles in recent times. The lighter salmon colour of these rosés tends to make them far more attractive to the consumer.
No longer is rosé wine seen as a run off product, as excess wine that can be sweetened with the addition of sugar and sold off cheaply. It is a serious style that should be treated with care and the results can be seen in its ever increasing popularity.
Another factor in its growing popularity is its inherent drinkability and versatility with a variety of foods. It is a style that matches well with such a wide variety of foods. The Provençal style of rosé matches perfectly with Mediterranean foods but also with Asian, Indian and spicy dishes through to tapas. Given that rosé can vary from the sweeter to the dryer style it is possible to find a wine that matches with most food from sweet through to savoury.
There are three methods of producing rosé wine. Blending a small portion of red wine into a white wine to produce that pink colour is a method not common anymore for many still rosé wines but is used in the production of some Sparkling Rosé wines. Saignée is the process of bleeding off some of the red juice early in the production of red wines. This is generally not as widely used when trying to create great examples of the style from this region.
The serious method of producing rosé wines is the skin contact or maceration method. Basically making red wine in a white wine style. The grapes are generally lightly crushed and the grapes and juice are allowed to macerate to impart colour into the juice from the skins. This can be anywhere from a couple of hours to a day depending on the level of colour the winemaker is trying to impart.
With the Flametree Pinot Rosé for example the grapes are rotated in the press and only left for 3 hours prior to pressing off the juice. This process leads to that wonderful pale pink or salmon colour that is becoming synonymous with elegant, lean, dry styles of Rosé.
So if you have not been converted to this amazing style of wine or if you are haunted by previous bad experiences of overly sweet rosé, it is time to re-evaluate your thinking. Rosé is definitely a serious style once again.