The weather is finally changing and it’s getting colder outside. And, with the holidays approaching, it’s time to plan for those gatherings of friends and family that are centered on food. This means more dining out and holiday parties. Picking the wines to pair with the menu is an important choice.
Perhaps rosé was on your summer menu. Yes, it is a crisp, refreshing wine and the beautiful shades of pink can lull you into images of being outdoors in the sunshine. But, rosé is more than a seasonal drink. It is a wine that has structure and acidity which make it a perfect wine for food pairing capabilities.
A Rosé History
After World War II, rosé wines made a name for themselves with sweet wines such as Mateus and Lancers, followed by White Zinfandel in the 1970s. Also known as Blush wines, these sweet wines gave rosé wines a bad name. But today, dry rosé wines are the fastest growing category by volume, value and consumption in the U.S. and make up 10% of the world wine production. Actually, between 2002 and 2011, rosé wine production has increased by 8%.
Rosé wines are made around the world with 70% of rosé wine production in Europe, primarily France, Italy and Spain. While France is the world leader in rosé production, the region of Provence produces 6% of worldwide production. In the last ten years, rosé production in Provence has increased 20 times with 142 million bottles being produced in 2013.
This increase in dry rosé production and consumption is music to my ears. After all, pink wine will forever be a consumer favorite. And why is that? It’s the color, the aromas and its ultimate food pairing capabilities.
The Color of Rosé Wine
How can you not love the color of rosé wines, ranging from light to dark pink? Rosés are made from many different varietals – Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and more. A rosé wine gets its color from minimal exposure to the grape skins. The color of a rosé wine will depend on the time and temperature of the contact between the juice and skins. Where the grapes are from and which grapes are used will also result in different shades.
The Aromas and Flavors of Rosé Wine
Dry rosé wines offer aromatic complexity. From fresh and exotic fruits to floral notes, some rosés also have aromas of spices and herbs. On the palate the wines combine freshness and rounded flavor. They also offer well-balanced acidity. There is elegance to rosé wines, as well as a subtle strength and structure.
Perfect Pairings with Rosé Wines
Rosé wine can start a meal but it can also be enjoyed throughout a meal. From salads and cheese to fish and white meat, the acidity of the wines will balance with food. Rosé wines also pair well with ethnic dishes and spices. All in all, rosé wine merges both white and red wines into one perfect glass.
So, when you are planning your holiday menu, think of rosé to pair with butternut squash, turkey and anything else that ends up on the table. Remember, rosé works well year round so drink pink and you will have consumers saying #pinkwinemakesmehappy.