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In Good Taste

The Basics of Rosé Wine

The anthem “rosé all day” has grown in popularity over the last few years, but if you’re new to drinking rosé, you might want to know how it stands out from other red or white wines. Is the anthem true for you, or just a catchy phrase?

With its signature pink color, rosé can be difficult to classify. Is it better suited in the red wine category, or does it belong to the white wine family? Is it a blend or its own distinct type of wine? Are rose petals involved? Does it taste sweet or dry? Does rosé only make an appearance poolside during the scorching hot summer, or is it a wine for all day and all year? This guide will help you determine if it’s the one for you—or at least a wine you’d like to try.

Related: Summer Sips - Best Wines for Summer

Rosé Wine Production

While rosé gets some of its pink color from grape skins, it’s not enough to be classified as a red wine. Some think rosé is made by mixing red and white wine, but this practice is strongly discouraged and even banned by law in some regions (who would’ve known!). Because of its unique and simple production process, rosé earns its own classification. Some even believe it’s the oldest known type of wine before its red and white contemporaries. 

The most common rosé making process is the skin contact method in which black-skinned grapes are crushed, and the skins stay immersed in the juice for two to twenty hours. Then, after the grapes are pressed, the skins are thrown away rather than fermented with the juice as in red winemaking. The color of the final wine is determined by how long the skins remain in contact with the juice, which explains some of the different pink shades of rosé. Longer contact = darker shade. 

How is Rose Wine Made? (infographic)

Winemakers sometimes use the saignée (French for bleeding) method to make a rich, red wine with more tannin. By removing some of the pink juice in an early stage, the red wine becomes more concentrated, and the pink juice can be fermented separately. Fermenting the pink juice leads to rosé, essentially giving the winemaker a “two-for-one” winemaking process. 

Remember when we learned mixing red and white wines was off-limits in some regions? Well, some places still allow it, and it’s the third way rosé can be produced. Not surprisingly, this technique is called the blending method. While this method of rosé production is literally outlawed in some regions of France, making Champagne this way is legal. It’s not typical, as most Champagne is still usually made with the saignée method, but it’s allowed! 

What is “Body”?

You may have heard someone describe the “body” of wine and thought, “We get you like the wine, just say that. No need to use fancy terms.” But the term isn’t for show-offs and salespeople. It describes how a wine feels in your mouth, which is different than just how it tastes. A wine’s body is usually determined by the wine’s alcohol content, with full-bodied wine feeling thicker and heavier and light-bodied wines feeling … well, lighter. Rosé falls into the medium-bodied category most of the time, but let’s explore the full range of “bodies,” shall we?

Rose Wine - Body

Light-bodied wines are crisp and bright. Usually with an alcohol level under 12.5%, these wines offer a burst of flavor but don’t feel thick or heavy as you drink. 

Medium-bodies wines usually have an alcohol content ranging between 12.5% and 13.5%, and they’re often described as smooth and refreshing—just like rosé.  

Full-bodied wines inspire descriptions of rich and complex, and they feature the highest alcohol content, coming in at 13.5% or above. 

Related: How to Sound Like a Wine Expert

What is Acid?

Acid might sound like the last thing you want to be associated with wine, but don’t worry, it’s a good thing. The level of acidity in wine goes back to the grapes used from the vineyard, but there are still several factors that influence acidity even before the grapes are harvested. For example, a grape cluster could have more acid because it’s unripe, hasn’t been on the vine as long, or comes from a colder region. A grape cluster that’s been ripe for a while, on the vine longer, or in a warmer climate will have less acid. But which is better—more or less acid? Depends on your tastebuds! 

Acidity of Rose Wine

If you love a crisper rosé, the higher acid level allows it to pair perfectly with rich Mediterranean flavors like grilled salmon and goat cheese. But apart from taste, acidity helps good wine age well. Over time, the wine will taste less acidic even though the acidic level remains the same.

Types of Rosé Wine Grapes

Red grape varieties are used to make rosé, as the skin contact and saignée methods reduce the red color in the wine. So grenache, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo, sangiovese, malbec, mourvedre, carignan, zinfandel, cinsault, and pinot noir are all common varieties used for rosé and even blends. 

The flavors lean on the fruity side, so you can expect notes of strawberry, citrus, melon, raspberry, cherry, and fresh flowers. Even though rosé wines tend to the lighter side, they still offer a lovely range of sweet to savory to dry.  

So what variety might you try the next time you’re in the mood for rosé all day?

Provence Rosé 

Tasting notes: strawberry, rose petal

Hailed as the most versatile of rosés, the Provence rosé is a wonderful choice for any occasion. It’s some of the best rosé you can get, and it’s primarily produced in Provence, France—hence, the name. Its simple combination of strawberry and rose petal flavors makes it easy to enjoy on any occasion, from relaxed to formal, especially since it pairs well with a broad range of cuisines. If you’ve never had rosé, Provence rosé makes a great introduction. 

Grenache Rosé 

Tasting notes: orange, hibiscus, strawberry, watermelon, lemon

Bursting with fruit flavors, Grenache is usually dry and best served cold. With balanced acidity and tannins, fruity notes shine through for a delightful, rich taste. Popular in Proven and Spain, Grenache rosé might be just what you need to fulfill your wanderlust. 

Sangiovese Rosé 

Tasting notes: rose petal, green melon, strawberry, pomegranate, cranberry

A bright, dry rose, Sangiovese rosé gives a wake-up call to dormant taste buds. Its powerful citrus notes and acidic finish take over with a full, refreshing orchestra of flavor. This Italian wine is definitely one for anyone wanting to try a more vibrant rosé.

Tempranillo Rosé 

Tasting notes: watermelon, raspberry, green peppercorn, grilled chicken

A popular rosé in Spain, Tempranillo rosé blends a unique profile with both fruity and meaty notes. On the more savory side, this dry rosé is the perfect addition to a summer barbecue! Prepare to replace your basic rosé with a glass of this refined yet laid-back variety. 

Syrah Rosé 

Tasting notes: cherry, olive, red pepper flake, lime zest, cured meat

Syrah rosé packs a bold, robust flavor as it’s more full-bodied than most other rosés. This wine is not for the faint of heart, so skip this one if you’re looking for your typical fruity rosé. If you’re looking for a more daring, adventurous choice, Syrah rosé might be just the one. 

Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 

Tasting notes: black pepper, cherry, spice, black currant

The most similar rosé to red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon rosé often features a deeper shade of pink. Exclusively made with the saignée method, it’s an excellent choice for red wine connoisseurs foraying into rosé. Blending spice with the flavor of ripe cherries, this rosé has higher acidity than Cabernet Sauvignon red wine, which gives it a light yet robustl taste. 

White Zinfandel Rosé 

Tasting notes: strawberry, melon, lemon, cotton candy

White Zinfandel will cure a sweet tooth with its high acidity and candied fruit taste. While some types of White Zinfandel can be on the drier side, most are known for their luscious, sweet flavor. For a rosé that cuts through savory and spicy foods, White Zinfandel is your best friend. 

Tavel Rosé 

Tasting notes: berry, nuts, earth

A little ambiguous when it comes to tasting notes, Tavel rosé hits the spot for a dry, savory wine. Lower in acidity than other rosés, Tavel is known for being higher in alcohol content, usually with a minimum of 11%. Similar to the vibrant characteristics of red wine, Tavel holds a strong berry flavor with its earthy undertones. 

Mourvèdre Rosé 

Tasting notes: violets, red plums, smoke, meat, rose petal 

Mourvèdre rosé is a full-bodied rosé with a rounded flavor profile. With deeper fruit notes like plums and cherries, hints of smokiness and meat can show up as well. An excellent pairing for Mediterranean or Greek cuisine, Mourvèdre is sure to please a refined rosé drinker. 

Pinot Noir Rosé 

Tasting notes: crabapple, watermelon, strawberry, melon

Bright and crisp, Pinot Noir rosé defines a sophisticated and airy choice for the wine connoisseur. Although it embodies sweet characteristics, its acidity level lends to a drier taste. Enjoy a fresh glass of this rosé with lighter dishes like tapas, seafood, and salads. 

Rosé Champagne 

Tasting notes: strawberry, raspberry

Delicate and bubbly, rosé champagne is the only acceptable version of blending in the Champagne region as it comes from mixing champagne with red wine. The taste will vary depending on the red wines chosen, but most will have a powerful strawberry and raspberry flavor. 

Shop for rosé wine 

How To Serve Rosé Wine 

As a general rule, rosé is best served chilled, especially if you’re kicking back with a glass on a sweltering summer day. While it may seem like a good idea to toss a few cans of rosé into a cooler, this “practical” approach takes away from the delightful experience of enjoying rosé in its fullest glory. Indulging with the appropriate serving glass and temperature makes for a pristine rosé experience! So, how do we make that happen? Here are the basics. 

How to Properly Serve and Enjoy Rose Wine

Temperature: Two hours in the fridge will chill your choice of rosé just fine, as you don’t need it to be ice cold. But don’t get too lazy and leave it out. A room temperature rosé won’t hit the spot like it should. If your bottle of rosé is in the 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit range, you’ve chilled it like a pro. Chilling a few bottles? Make sure you get the perfect temperatures every time with this chart. 

Glass: Like white wine, a medium-sized glass works best to enhance the fruity flavors on the surface. And unlike red wine, rosé doesn’t need to breathe, so you can start sipping the second you pour. 

How To Drink Rosé Wine 

Ready to taste? By following five simple steps, you can make yourself look like a bonafide rosé expert and impress your friends—especially those who brought their wine in cans. The five rules of wine tasting are based on the senses. We even made a comprehensive guide: See. Swirl. Smell. Sip. Savor. 

See: Before you pour, study the wine’s varietal and vintage. This preparatory moment offers a preview of the decadence that will soon follow. After you’ve poured the rosé into your medium-sized glass, consider the wine’s color and clarity. It should be colorful and clear, indicating an excellent wine. Cloudy wine could signal that something went a little off-kilter during the winemaking or storage. 

Swirl: Next, give it a little swirl to aerate the wine. This step verifies your expertise and vast knowledge of the art of drinking rosé. It also releases the wine’s aromas, but that doesn’t sound quite as intriguing. 

Smell: Once your rosé has settled in the glass, raise it to your nose, take a deep inhale, and see if you can note hints of spice or fruit. We’re almost there. As you take in the aromatics, you’re preparing for the final step. 

Sip: Ah, the much anticipated final step. But it’s not to be rushed! Take a small sip and swish it around your mouth, letting every bubble of your pink rosé wash over your tongue so you taste the full range of sweet, fruity goodness, crisp acidity, and alcohol happiness. 

Savor: With this playing in slow motion in your imagination, you’ll learn what qualities you like most in your rosés. It may just seem sweet or dry at first, but as you continue your studying of rosé, you’ll pick up on more and more subtleties over time. 

Does Rosé Get Better With Age?

Actually, no. Rosé is best enjoyed a year or two after bottling so the essence of fresh, fruity flavors remains just that—fresh! Because of the winemaking styles used to create rosé, the wines have minimal acidity and tannins leaving them without much to “do” over time. More concentrated wines are better aged, but rosé would lose its keynote fruity and floral flavors if it’s left unpoured for too long. And that’s just what we love about rosé. It’s time to drink it now! Thus the mantra, rosé all day.

Guide to Rose Wines - Infographic

Summer Picks

Our Favorites

Warm, sunny days require wines that are crisp and oh-so refreshing. With two delicious rosés and a delightful Sauvignon Blanc, our Summer Picks are the perfect addition to your sunshine-filled adventures.

$61.97

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California Wine Mixer Top 3

Our Favorites

Californian wine is a state of mind. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Rosé, and Red Wine from our California Wine Mixer bundle can transport your state of mind (and palate) all the way to The Golden State.

$77.97

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International Whites

Our Favorites

Experience a world-class wine tour for your tastebuds from the comfort of home. This bundle features incredible selections from France and Italy that will have you ready to grab your passport and hop a plane.

$67.97

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Vine Voyage Top 3

Our Favorites

The Vine Voyage bundle will remind you why France and Italy are two of the most well-known, wine-producing countries in the world. Take your senses to the European countryside with Montepulciano, Rosé of Sangiovese, and Nerello Cappuccio.

$58.97

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Light Reds

Our Favorites

Like the infectious laugh of a best friend, these wines will warm your soul and lighten your mood. Our Light Reds bundle with a Grenache, Coteaux Borguignons AOC, and Pinot Noir are sure to be your new wine besties!

$79.97

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Big Reds

Our Favorites

Big. Bold. Unapologetic. The rich, unmistakable flavors of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, and Bordeaux Rouge in our Big Reds collection are perfect for the unwavering palate that demands something more.

$81.97

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Rosé of Sangiovese

Andiamo

Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. A rosé wine is actually made from red grapes (like the Sangiovese) that haven’t fully ripened by harvesting time. Try as these grapes might, they ended up a little too tart and a little too light in color for a typical red; but that’s where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink—it’s everything you want in your bottle of rosé and more.

$19.99

Sauvignon Blanc

La Pluma

We couldn’t have rosé and Pinot Grigio at the La Pluma party without inviting its ring leader, Sauvignon Blanc. If Pinot Grigio is the dry, acidic friend of the group and rosé is the always sweet and highly affable one, Sauvignon Blanc exists between the two to create true Zen. An interesting and addictive blend of grapefruits and herbs set this white wine apart and make it incredibly difficult to resist, especially when the temperature is high and your desire for a refreshment is higher. La Pluma Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect poolside or beach companion; just be sure to bring a few bottles because your friends will definitely want to partake, and we don’t blame them!

$23.99

Barbera

Wild Child

The perfect pizza wine. Barbera is a simple wine that’s not only easy for winemakers to make, but easier to drink. It’s low in alcohol and an Italian red wine we implore you try chilled because it’s truly *chef’s kiss*. Classic Barberas are fruity, medium bodied and offer the perfect hint of tartness. It’s also the best of both worlds in terms of light and heavy red wines. Let’s say you’re having a friend over who always prefers a cab, but you’re more of a Pinot Noir kinda gal. Order a pizza and open the Barbera for a perfect middle ground kind of evening. After all, the combo of good red wine and pizza is the great equalizer.

$24.99

Montepulciano

Andiamo

Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

$20.99

Cabernet Sauvignon

Unprecedented

If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

$34.99

Rosé

La Pluma

While it’s the unofficial official wine of summer and warm weather situations, La Pluma’s Rosé is one you can drink year-round, no matter the occasion. All rosé wine is derived from red grapes that didn’t quite make the cut, but the result exceeds expectations in terms of highly-sippable, easy-drinking wine. This La Pluma Rosé is as light as its feathery namesake and is best served extremely chilled for an extremely chill afternoon of nothing but vibes. And maybe a few snacks.

$17.99

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

$19.99

Pinot Noir

Unprecedented

We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

$25.99

Coteaux Bourguignons

Passport

The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.

$25.99

Nerello Cappuccio

Wild Child

This is not your average Italian red. Nerello Cappuccio is a dark-skinned grape variety from Sicily, the Mount Etna region to be exact (yes, the volcano). Although its color is vibrant, you might be surprised to know that it’s a much softer red than it looks to be. Our Nerello Cappuccio is cherry-forward, with other tasting notes of vanilla, light coffee (like your favorite breakfast blend), and minerals. The delicate tannins in this Sicilian wine will surprise and delight you and tastes exceptionally good paired with margherita pizza or arancini balls (drool).

$17.99

Chardonnay

Unprecedented

Ah, Chardonnay. The buttery, oaky, rich white wine that is polarizing in its very nature. This is the type of wine you either love or hate; it’s rare to find someone who lies somewhere in the middle. If you’re in the “love” category, our classic Unprecedented California Chardonnay will surely become a new favorite. Its buttery vanilla nature pairs extremely well with like minded buttery, creamy foods such as brie cheese, lobster, crab cakes, crème brûlée, squash, corn, and mushrooms.

$33.00

Verdicchio

Andiamo

A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you’re into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit bitter, the more you sip, the sweeter it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.

$23.99

Red Wine

Unprecedented

We’d love to introduce you to our old friend: Unprecedented Red Wine. She’s a 2019 blend that has been with us through it all and grown to be one of our more popular wines. She’s a mix of all the best Italian grapes: Barbera, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo with a splash of Mourvèdre and a few others. They’re all hanging out, having one big, juicy, delicious party! Tasting notes include a touch of spice, a hint of leather, and some of the best juicy fruits, including blackberries. She truly gets along with just about everybody!

$24.99

Côtes du Rhône White

Passport

This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.

$23.99

Bordeaux Rouge

Passport

When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

$21.99

Ventoux Rosé

Passport

You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.

$21.99

Tempranillo

Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.

$27.99

Grenache

La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.

$27.99

Barbera

Andiamo

We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they’re low in alcohol, medium bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we’re in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera is the perfect marriage of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a ladies who lunch kind of afternoon.

$21.99

Vermentino

Wild Child

We couldn’t not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape grows exclusively along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that’s incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it’s “weird” only because it’s not widely known by name, but chances are you’ve probably had it before if you’ve ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.

$23.99

Viognier

Unprecedented

For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.

$24.99

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