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 Events  Share this article     Summary of Corkscrew column Not Just Wine 
  Corkscrew Issue 12, October 2003   
Matching Food with Rose WinesMatching Food with Rose Wines  Contents 
Issue 11, September 2003 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 13, November 2003

Matching Food with Rose Wines

Rose wines, sometimes forgotten and scarcely considered, are very pleasing, aromatic and crisp, last but not the least, very suited and versatile in the matching with food

 In case there is a style of wine which is scarcely considered and sometimes forgotten by consumers, this certainly is the category of rose wines. These wines, which are very pleasing, fresh and aromatic, are often victims of absurd prejudices, also supported by a scarce knowledge, and unfortunately considered as lesser wines. Perhaps the fact they are placed in a position between white wines and reds, makes these wines appear like something which is neither the one nor the other, worse, a wine produced in a arguable way having low quality and therefore considered as a lesser wine. The only thing which is not arguable is that rose wines are neither white wines nor reds, moreover they are not an in between choice, they are wines belonging to a specific type and, above all, are real and proper wines.

 However it should be remembered the discredit for rose wines was also the result of a bad information, culture and, first of all, the dishonesty of some subjects, such as in certain restaurants, who in past times, when controls were probably more permissive, used to serve to their clients a “rose wine” which they prepared by blending white and red wines of bad quality, obtaining a product having very bad organoleptic qualities. The practice of blending white wines and red wines with the purpose of producing a rose wine is a method which is explicitly forbidden by the law of many wine producing countries. The only rose wine that can be prepared this way is the base wine used for the production of classic method rose sparkling wines, such as Champagne or Franciacorta.


Production of Rose Wines

 Rose wines are produced with the specific purpose of obtaining this style of wine with specific techniques and their production is not to be considered of lesser quality. True rose wines, that is the ones produced with this specific purpose, are to be considered real wines with proper dignity. Methodologies used for the production of rose wines are mainly three and all of them begin, of course, with harvesting red berried grapes which are subsequently pressed in order to obtain must.

Rose wines are a good match for cereal
Rose wines are a good match for cereal soups

 A technique used for the production of rose wines having pale colors consists in pressing red berried grapes and to separate must from skins soon after this process. These kind of wines are called grey wines in France (vins gris). However the most common technique requires a short period of maceration of skins in the must in order to obtain wines having different rose tints, a factor which also depends on the quantity of pigments contained in grape's skins and therefore on its coloring capacity. The duration of the maceration on skins is usually short, it scarcely goes beyond 24 hours, and “wines of one night” will be produced in case the maceration time is from 6 to 12 hours, “wines of one day” when the maceration lasts for 24 hours. At the end of this short period, the must, which will acquired a more or less intense rose color, is separated from skins and the vinification process continues by using the typical procedures for white wines.

 Another technique used for the production of these style of wines is the so called “bleeding”, called in French “saignée”. The technique consists in drawing a certain quantity of must produced with red berried grapes after a short period of maceration on skins, usually within 24 hours, and after the fermentation process has begun. The part of must drawn, which will have a rose color as a consequence of the short maceration, will be vinified by using the same methodologies for white wines, whereas the remaining part, that will continue to macerate and ferment on skins, will be used for the production of red wine. The technique of bleeding increases the quantity of polyphenols and aromatic compounds in the must therefore obtaining a more concentrated red wine with a greater structure and body. Many producers of quality red wines use the technique of bleeding for their best wines and this technique allow them the production of excellent red wines as well as excellent rose wines.


Many Rose Wines to be Discovered

 Despite the fact rose wines are not particularly common and are not particularly appreciated by consumers, there is a good availability and offer from producers even though, it should be admitted, the produced quantity is very low when compared to white wines or red wines. However there are wine areas where rose wines represent the majority of total production, such as for certain areas in southern France. Grapes used for the production of rose wines are the same used for red wines, therefore it is pretty common to have wines in this category produced with grapes usually believed to make great red wines. In general terms, rose wines are produced in warm and sunny areas where white wines are not characterized by the same crispness and aromaticity of the ones produced in cool areas.

 Among wine producing countries, the one having the longest and most important tradition in the production of rose wines certainly is France, in particular the southern part, where this style of wine is produced in great quantities and very appreciated, however there also are good examples of rose wines in the northern areas as well. In Champagne, a region renowned for its excellent sparkling wines, in the area near Aube, it is produced the rare Rosé des Riceys with Pinot Noir grape which in this area, thanks to a warmer climate as opposed to the northern part of Champagne, grapes reach full maturation therefore allowing the production of a wine having strong flavors. In the northern part of France, in Loire Valley there is a good production of rose wines, such as the renowned Rosé d'Anjou, a demi-sec wine mainly produced with Grolleau grape, as well as Rosé de Loire, and Cabernet d'Anjou, a demi-sec wine produced with Cabernet Franc grape and Cabernet de Saumur. In the same area are also produced the renowned rose wines of Touraine, produced with Pineau d'Aunis and Grolleau grapes.


 The production of French rose wines is particularly common in the southern area. In Rhône Valley there is a modest production of rose wines, mainly produced with Grenache Noir and Cinsaut, as well as Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan, in particular Tavel, Lirac, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Côteaux du Tricastin, Côtes du Vivarais and Côtes du Lubéron. Even in Languedoc-Roussillon, known for the production of vins doux naturels, there is a good production of rose wines, mainly with Carignan, Grenache Noir, Cinsaut, Mourvèdre and Syrah grapes, in particular wines from Collioure, Minervois, Saint-Chinian, Côtes du Roussillon, Faugères and Coteaux du Languedoc.

 The most renowned area of France concerning rose wines is certainly Provence where this style of wine represents the most important proportion in the total production. Grapes used in this region for the production of rose wines are Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cinsaut, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Tibouren. Among the areas of Provence which produce rose wines are to be mentioned Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence et Les Baux-de-Provence, Côtes de Provence, Palette, Cassis, Coteaux Varois, Bellet and Bandol, the latter wines are usually aged in casks. Even the evocative Corsica produces interesting rose wines, mainly with Nielluccio, Sciacarello, Grenache Noir and Cinsaut grapes, in particular Ajaccio, Porto Vecchio and Sartène. In the southern part of France, precisely in the South-West area, there are interesting areas for the production of rose wines, such as Tursan, Béarn-Belloq, Iroléguy, Côtes du Brulhois, Côtes du Frontonnais, Côtes de Millau, Entraygues et du Fel and Estaing. In the region of Bergerac, west from Bordeaux, are produced interesting rose wines, although in modest quantities, such as Côtes de Duras, Buzet, Bergerac and Côtes de Bergerac.

 In Italy the production of rose wine is not very high, however it should be noticed that a good number of disciplinary for the production of DOC wines include this style. Probably the region having a stronger tradition in the production of rose wines is Apulia, which produces excellent rose wines with Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grapes. Among the many areas must be mentioned rose wines from Salento, Salice Salentino Rosato, Alezio Rosato and Castel del Monte Rosato. In the southern part of Italy, also Calabria has an interesting production of rose wines, in particular Cirò Rosato produced with Gaglioppo grape. Among Italian rose wines should be mentioned the renowned and ancient Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Cerasuolo, produced with Montepulciano grape. In Campania there is a production of rose wines, usually produced with Aglianico grape, in particular Aglianico del Taburno Rosato and Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosato, the latter produced with the adding of Piedirosso grape. In the northern part of Italy the production of rose wines is mainly found in the eastern part, in particular in the lake of Garda, renowned is the Garda Chiaretto, mainly produced with Groppello grape, whereas in Veneto there is Bardolino Chiaretto, mainly produced with Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. Another excellent rose wine produced in the northern part of Italy is Lagrein Kretzer, from Alto Adige, an interesting crisp and aromatic wine.

 Other interesting production of rose wines are found in Spain, in particular in the regions of Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra, usually produced with Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes. Another area famous for its rose wines is Styria, in Austria, in particular for its Schilcher, produced with Blauer Wildbacher grape, a pretty acid wine as opposed to what one may usually expect from a rose wine.


Matching Rose Wine

 Rose wines offer interesting opportunities in matching with food, they offer an incredible versatility, are usually suited in all those cases when a white wine is not enough and a red wine is simply too much, thanks to the low content in tannins and to their appreciable crispness, they can be served to the same temperatures for white wines. It is often said rose wines have the same aromas of red wines and the advantage of being served like a white wine, therefore they are characterized by an excellent agreeability and pleasing aromas. The versatility of rose wine in the matching with food is very wide, they are perfectly matchable with appetizers, pasta, rice, fish, meat as well as cheese.

 One of the main characteristics of rose wine is their freshness in aromas, usually the same which are typically found in young red wines, however, just like any other type of wine, before proceeding with matching, it is best to know the specific characteristics of every wine. We already mentioned that, according to the matching food/wine point of view, rose wines are to be considered as an in between possibility for white and red wines, and thanks to this characteristic they offer a wide versatility. Compared to white wines, rose wines are usually less acid and have a higher roundness, factors which also depend by the technique used for their production, whereas when compared to red wines, they have a lesser structure and a lower astringency. In general terms, rose wines do not have a high alcohol by volume percentage, a factor that, of course, also depends by the specific conditions of the wine and of its balance.

 Thanks to the smoothness of rose wines and to their appreciable crispness, certainly not excessive as in white wines, these wines can make excellent matchings with every dish of pasta where tomato sauce is used, as well as in stuffed pasta and pasta cooked in the oven, moreover, also with pizza and its many versions. The higher structure of rose wines compared to whites and their low quantity of tannins, therefore a lower astringency, is useful for recipes based on fish, in particular fish soups and roasted fish especially when it is richly seasoned and spiced. Rose wines are also suited for the matching with mushrooms and with dairy products, as well as with soft cheese.

 Rose wines, thanks to their characteristics, are well matchable with meat dishes as well, in particular white meat, from sauteed meat to roasted meat, even prepared with mushrooms or truffles. Moreover, these wines are also good as aperitifs, thanks to the possibility of being served at low temperatures, and they are very pleasing with appetizers as well, even the ones made of fish. Thanks to their low, however appreciable acidity, to their roundness and moderate alcohol quantity, rose wines are usually matchable with cold cuts, from lean ones to fatty ones, as well as with preparations based on vegetables, in particular vegetable puddings and the rich “parmigiana”, lastly, they are very good with cereals and legumes.


 Events  Share this article     Summary of Corkscrew column Not Just Wine 
  Corkscrew Issue 12, October 2003   
Matching Food with Rose WinesMatching Food with Rose Wines  Contents 
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