Rosé Learning | Manitoba Liquor Mart

Rosé Learning

Kick of Spring with Fresh & Rosy

Rosé is back! After shaking off identity issues - which had many thinking that all pink wines are sweet - rosé is now quite trendy. This is thanks to the growing awareness that most rosé wine is not only on the dry side, but pairs well with a wide range of cuisines. Its light yet expressive fruit flavours make it a great choice for everything from salads and Asian dishes to barbecue and Mediterranean fare. So, next time you are looking to impress a host with your wine game, or simply going next door for a barbecue, why not show up with a bottle of rosé in hand? Whatever the menu, your good taste is sure to delight. 

Making Rosé 

Rosé may be the world’s oldest style of wine. Its origins date back to at least ancient Greece, when during harvest, workers would crush red and white grapes together and place the juice in a large ceramic fermenter. This produced a pink coloured wine which eventually became - with the help of the Romans - the most popular style of wine throughout the Mediterranean. Today, most quality wine makers produce their rosé wines solely from red grapes using the maceration or saignée methods. 

Maceration Process

All red wines derive their colour and tannin structure from the skins of the grapes they are made with, not the juice. The longer the skins remain soaking in the juice after crushing (called maceration), the deeper the colour of the final wine. The same process is used for making rosé wines, except that the juice is separated from the skins much sooner. Depending on the desired style of rosé, the length of the maceration process could vary between 2 to 48 hours. This is, by far, the most common method of making rosé today. 

Saignée Method (san yea)

Taken from the French word for “to bleed,” rosé wines made using the saignée method are a bi-product of red winemaking for producers seeking to make more heavily concentrated wines with big flavours. To do this, they will drain, or “bleed-off,” a portion of the juice after the grapes are crushed. The saignée rosé will finish fermenting on its own and will typically have a richer, fruitier profile and a deeper colour.


Drinking Tip - Think Young!

Rosé wines are best consumed young - when the wine is at its freshest and its flavours most vibrant. Look for bottles still within a couple of years of harvest. The lone exceptions to this rule are rosé wines from Tavel in the Rhône Valley region of France, which have the body and structure that can withstand some bottle aging.


Meiomi Rose
Bottega Rose Gold Sparkling Pinot Noir
Risata Pink Moscato
Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rose
Kim Crawford Rose


10 Styles of Rosé 

Buying a rosé based solely on visual cues can be a bit misleading, as its colour tells you little about what you will find inside the bottle. A better strategy is to pay attention to where it was produced. For example, Old World rosé wines from places like France, Italy or Spain, are generally dry with subtle flavours and aromas, while wines made in the New World (Australia, California, Chile, etc.), might be a little more bold and fruit forward. Another important clue is the grape, or grapes, that were used to make the wine, with each varietal contributing its own distinctive flavour profile. Another tip when buying rosé is to look at the alcohol content on the bottle. Typically, the lower the alcohol (less than 10%), the higher the sugar content will be in the wine. Here is a brief rundown of some of the more popular styles that you will encounter:  

Sangiovese Rosé 

Common to: Italy 
Style: fruity with a pleasantly dry finish 
Colour: pale pink 
Flavours/Aromas: fresh strawberries, cherry, peaches, roses 
Try with: caprese salad, Moroccan couscous, Thai curries  

Tempranillo Rosé 

Common to: Spain 
Style: herbaceous with floral notes 
Colour: bright copper red 
Flavours/Aromas: watermelon, strawberries, green peppercorns, meaty notes 
Try with: beef ribs, tacos, grilled shrimp, gazpacho  

Syrah Rosé 

Common to: U.S., Australia, others 
Style: bold with a fresh, crisp finish 
Colour: ruby red 
Flavours/Aromas: white pepper, strawberry, cherry, olive 
Try with: pepperoni pizza, chili, Niçoise salad, pulled pork 

Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 

Common to: U.S., South Africa, Canada, others 
Style: crisp with heightened acidity 
Colour: ruby red 
Flavours/Aromas: bell pepper, cherry, black current, spice 
Try with: pepperoni pizza, chili, Niçoise salad, pulled pork 

Pinot Grigio Rosé

Common to: Italy 
Style: crisp and light bodied
Colour: pale salmon pink with a copper hue
Flavours/Aromas: apple, pear, floral, strawberry, raspberry
Try with: seafood dishes, salads and goat cheese 

Garnacha Rosé  

Common to: Spain, France  
Style: red fruit flavours up front with a zesty finish 
Colour: pale pink 
Flavours/Aromas: strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, lemon, 
Try with: Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines, tomato and dishes with red peppers 

White Zinfandel Rosé 

Common to: U.S. 
Style: off-dry to sweet with moderately high acidity 
Colour: reddish pink 
Flavours/Aromas: lemon, green melon, strawberry, cotton candy 
Try with: Thai and Indian cuisines, salads, light pasta dishes 

Provence Rosé 

Common to: France 
Style: fresh, crisp, fruity and light 
Colour: salmon pink to pale orange 
Flavours/Aromas: strawberry, watermelon, rose petal, lemon 
Try with: most cuisines, especially Mediterranean, grilled meats, pastas 

Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre (GSM) Rosé 

Common to: France 
Style: round and full 
Colour: pale coral 
Flavours/Aromas: violets, red plums, cherries, dried herbs, smoked meats 
Try with: Mediterranean cuisine, grilled lamb, barbecue 

Pinot Noir Rosé 

Common to: France, U.S., others 
Style: delicate and crisp 
Colour: pale pink 
Flavours/Aromas: orange and lemon zest, watermelon, strawberry, cherries, apple 
Try with: herbed chicken, grilled lamb, barbecue 


Pelee Island LOLA
Ruffino Sparkling Rose
Yes Way Rose
Bree Pinot Noir Rose


Serving Tip - Just chill a little after chilling 

As with white wines, rosé wines benefit from being chilled before serving. However, optimal drinking temperature is not that of your refrigerator (likely around 2 degrees celcius), but rather something closer to 8 to 10 degrees celcius. So, instead of popping the cork immediately after removing it from the fridge, let your bottle stand for about 20 minutes or so at room temperature. This will help release many of the subtle aromas and flavours in your rosé, and significantly add to your overall enjoyment of the wine. 


Whispering Angel Rose
Pere Anselme Rose Cote de Provence
Paul Mas Jardin de Rose
Fetzer Vineyards Adorada Rose




Provence – A Rosé Region to Know  

If there is a world epicenter for rosé, it is the region of Provence in southeastern France. By the time the Romans took over the area from the Greeks in 125 BC, the region was already known for the quality of its rosé wine. Today, rosé accounts for well over half of the region’s production, and it is the Provincial style that many makers of rosé around the world most try to emulate, as it pairs well with a wide variety of cuisines. Expect pale, almost translucent, salmon-tinged wines that are vibrant and crisp on the palate with a refreshing level of acidity. Typical grapes permitted in this region are Garnacha, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Tibouren and Syrah. Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan are also permitted to a lesser extent. But regardless the mix, a properly chilled rosé from Provence is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. 



Fun Fact!

The only time it is acceptable in the EU to blend a red wine with a white wine to make rosé is in the production of Rosé Champagne. Rosé Champagne is produced by using a method called Rosé d’Assemblage, the addition of a small percentage of still red Champagne wine – Pinot Noir or Meunier – during blending.