Oenologie - Quels cépages se cachent derrière le rosé ? - Les Grappes

What grape varieties are behind the rosé?

About rosé wines...

There is a difference between Old World rosé and New World rosé; the Old World style is very much associated with tradition and terroir, so the production methods remain the same from generation to generation.

Sweet, elegant and tannic, Old World rosé wines come from countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Armenia, Georgia, Austria, Poland, France, Spain and Italy.

Much more unpredictable due to the experimental nature of the winemaking process, New World rosé wines come from countries such as the United States, Australia, India, China, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile or South Africa. There, winegrowers often have more freedom to experiment with the grape varieties.

How are rosé wines made?

There are three main methods of making rosé wine:

  • The traditional method: this consists of crushing the grapes for a period of two to three days to separate the skin (which gives the rosé its colour) from its wine.
  • Bleeding: The colour of the rosé also comes from the skin of the grapes, but through this method, vats of lightly crushed red grapes are "bled" after one day, so that the free-run juice produces a rosé wine.
  • The method of mixing red and white wine: this method is used in the Champagne region and is generally forbidden elsewhere.

Whatever the method used, the main grape varieties used to make rosé remain Grenache, Cinsault, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese (widespread in Italy but also found in Corsica!).

A bunch of Pinot Noir

  • Grenache: generally found in the Rhone Valley, Provence and Spain, Grenache is recognizable by its powerful, rich and fruity style. Giving birth to rosé wines with strawberry and spice aromas, it goes perfectly with summer salads or grilled vegetable dishes, especially if accompanied by seafood.

  • Cinsault : Coming from the Languedoc and Southern Rhône, Cinsault is full of floral and summer berry flavours. It gives birth to aromatic and powerful rosé wines, which go particularly well with "pre-dinner" bites, such as a dish of charcuterie or crostinis garnished with smoked salmon pâté.

  • Pinot Noir: reigning supreme in the Loire as well as in some New World countries such as New Zealand, Pinot Noir brings a delicate, elegant and refined style to rosé wine. Its cherry, strawberry and lemon zest flavours are the perfect accompaniment to a fresh salmon steak or ham salad.

  • Sangiovese : Used in the making of Corsican rosé, Sangiovese is full of red berry, citrus and spice aromas. This grape variety produces pale, interesting and very convivial wines, which go perfectly with a caprese salad, olives with herbs, or even a chicken or fish curry.

About the rosé wines of Provence...

Provençal rosé wines are generally made from the same local blends used in the making of red wines. Most rosé wines in Provence are made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes, but some are made from Mourvèdre and Cabernet Sauvignon.

A less known grape called Tibouren is also used in some areas of Provence. Wines made from this grape variety have the ability to go very well with aioli or pieces of beef accompanied by red pepper and fresh rosemary.

For the aroma hunters, here are the typical aromas of the rosé wines of Provence: grapefruit, banana, strawberry, raspberry, redcurrant, almond, linden, cut hay.

Food and wine pairings

A glass of fresh rosé is delicious on its own but goes even better with food, especially fish, grilled meats or vegetables. It is fearless with tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic, chilli, salad dressings and even eggs. He loves the outdoors and is irresistibly friendly. The full-bodied styles can go well with roasts, grilled meat and fish, while the non-dry rosés are remarkably good with lightly spiced food and cheese platters. Sweeter rosé wines can accompany pastries or fruit tarts.

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