Winemakers have been producing rosé since Greek and Roman times. In its earliest form, rosé was a combination of red and white grapes, crushed underfoot and left to ferment in large, ceramic containers. Modern-day Provence, a southeastern region in France, established its reputation as a leading producer of rosé as early as the 6th century BC by exporting bottles around the Mediterranean.
French consumers rediscovered rosé in the 1930s, when France first introduced mandatory vacation days. Families would travel to Provence or the Loire Valley, two major rosé-producing regions, and return home having learned to associate wine with celebration and leisure.
What Is Rosé?
Technically, rosé can be made from nearly any grape variety (Sangiovese, Cinsault, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet, Nebbiolo), but Grenacheis often one of the more favored options because of its light ruby color and fruity aromas. “Grenache has a perfect rosé fruit profile,” says Tom Montgomery, a winemaker on the faculty at Fresno State, home to one of California’s top viticulture and enology programs. “Remember that tutti-frutti bubble gum smell? Very tropical, strawberry, watermelon. The one we produce smells just like strawberry cream and watermelon.”
Restaurants are also finding ways to encourage experimentation using approachable formats. In Chicago, the beverage director for Gibsons Restaurant Group, Lawrence Kobesky, created the concept of a rosé wine cart, which he wheels around LUXBAR and Quartino Ristorante. The carts feature five or six wines, along with postcard descriptions of each one. “I like to make things simple and fun and easy with wine,” he says. “When people come to the restaurant, I want them drinking, not reading a list forever. People can visually see the bottles as well, which is important with rosé.”
“This past summer in particular, I’ve felt like people are really excited about some of these deeper hued rosés that you could mistake it for a red wine or a light pinot in terms of color,” says Kristin Tice Studeman, who runs a pop-up dinner series called The Rosé Project in New York City and the Hamptons. At a recent dinner at chef Marc Murphy’s Landmarc Restaurant in Tribeca, she closed the meal with a rosé made by Joe Campanale, a New York restaurateur. “He has one from Abruzzo that’s super funky, not for everyone by any means. It was so cool because at the end of the dinner, I had so many people come up to me and say, I never like rosés like this, but it was so good that I’m running out to buy some.”
Essentially, there are many choices and different grape varieties when it comes to the winemaking process and the modern day rosé. They have proven themselves, over the last few years, to be sought after all year long and not just during the warm weather season like in the past. We are also seeing an increase in how these rosés can hold up for a few years and actually add some complexity to the flavor profiles with a little bit of aging to the bottle. With so many choices out there, how do you know which rosé could be right for you? Here are some choices we highly recommend:
Torre Oria – Pinot Noir Rosé 2020 (750ml) - $13.99 ($11.19 in a mixed case) – Elegant, pale, golden rosé. High intensity with hints of red and tropical fruit with a light, subtle vanilla base. Full-bodied, very good acidity, and leaves a hint of red fruit with a slight lactic touch in the final aftertaste. Ideal to accompany with pasta, chicken, fish, soft cheeses, or fruit salad.
Robert Sinskey – Vin Gris Rosé 2020 (750ml)- Reg. $39.99 On Sale $32.99 - Sinskey is arguably the king of this kind of wine and this 2018 rendition of the Vin Gris of Pinot Noir is just plain delicious. Floral aromas of cherry blossom, lilac, and chamomile meet flavors of white peach, Pink Lady® apple, Meyer lemon, and kumquat. The finish shows clean resolve guided by a mineral-driven backbone and mouthwatering freshness. Though this wine is intended to be consumed young, it has the structure to age surprisingly well, while the primary fruit notes can evolve into a savory herb and spice complexity. A must-have with
Châteay de Berne – Emotion Rosé 2020 (750ml) – Reg $14.99 ($11.99 in a mixed case) - Incredible acid in this wine makes your palate come alive. The fruit flavors come across like Bosc pear and hints of raspberry. The combination of Cinsault and Grenache gives the wine a great duo of savory and red fruit qualities to appeal to many different tastes.
KVW – Shiraz Rosé 2019 (750ml) - $9.99 ($7.99 in a mixed case) - One of our top sellers! An organic delight made with the Shiraz grape, this rosé entices with flavors of berry and melon while showcasing aromas of rose petals, strawberries, and violets. A great accompaniment to mixed green salads and lighter fare.
Gerard Bertrand – Côte des Roses 2020 (750ml)– Reg. $19.99 On Sale $14.99 - A pale, coppery-pink color, this rosé made from Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault and opens with aromas of freshly pressed sweet pea and peony combined with notes of white cherry and watermelon rind. The palate is light and easy to enjoy, but also features a ripe-fruit character that lends to a satisfying impression. A touch of herbal spiciness and tangy, pithy citrus provides length and interest through the close.
With family gatherings, barbecues, and Mother’s Day around the corner, come on down to NJWineSeller to find out about all the delicious rosés we have to offer that will delight for months to come! Cheers!
Written By: Ray Mogenis