Guide to the World of Rosés

Whether sipped at a sidewalk café, a rustic country picnic, or an elegant sit-down luncheon, refreshing rosés make up some of summertime's most versatile and quaffable wines. For a delicious way to beat the heat, just think pink!

The new red?

A glass of rosé wineNope, no matter the name — be it rosé, blush, vin gris, rosado, or even white Zinfandel — all pink wines' color actually comes from red grapes. Or, to be more precise, from red grape skins. Once red grapes are pressed, the longer their juice stays in contact with the skins, the darker the color of the wine.

Quick soak

As a result, the most tried-and-true way of making rosé is to simply separate the skins and juice after a fairly short soak. In fact, a much speedier soak than for making a full-blooded, dark red wine.

Short cut to rosé?

An alternative way of making pink wines is to merely blend a small amount of finished red wine into white wine. But no matter which technique is used, one of the most exciting things about rosés is that there always seems to be one just right for any taste or occasion.

Friendly to newcomers

For those just getting to know wine, friendly 'pinks' such as blush wines and ever-popular white Zinfandel make an easy intro. With plenty of fruitiness, and dripping with honey-sweet charm, these wines are 100 percent fun!

Rosés offer ideal pours for the crowd that wants no part of swirling glasses, furrowing brows, and eloquent rhapsodizing over what’s in the glass. For a unique twist on this easygoing genre, offer stylistically similar white Shiraz and white Merlot.

Pink on the patio

When it comes to summer barbecues, patio parties and picnics, you'll find a rosé to fit any of these pleasant diversions to a tee. For patio parties, you might pour a fruity, softly off-dry rosé. And to go with a mouthwatering mélange of smoky grilled fare, Argentina and Chile craft dry, food-lovin' pinks from distinguished red wine grapes, including Malbec and Cabernet. Pondering a picnic? Pull a surprisingly complex, yet affable, California vin gris or Pinot Noir rosé from the cooler. Then, kick off your sandals, get comfy, and say ahhh ...

Blush is blooming

There's no need to fret over which wines to select — it's rosé to the rescue:

  • Classy pinks from the rosé wonderlands of southern France and Spain strike an ideal balance between light, satisfying refreshment, and casual elegance and style.
  • Spanish Rioja rosados ooze with Iberian mystique, sometimes melding a haunting rose petal scent with brighter, berrylike aromas. Also, with their surprising power and heady fragrance, many pinky-orange Mediterranean French rosés feature a full-flavored profile that can charm the socks off even the most discerning wine lover at your summer table.

Bubbles, anyone?

It would be a crime to neglect that pinnacle of pinkness: luxurious rosé Champagne. But why stop there? Exhilarating rosé sparklers can be found at just about any level of sophistication — and at any price — your heart desires.

Amazing bargains in sweet fruity sparklers are always available from Italy. And when you see the word "Brut" on a bubbly's label, expect a zippy-dry wine.