Rosé can, theoretically be made from any red grape and is produced in three different ways depending on the winemaker and, often, the location.
The first method of producing Rosé relies on skin contact. Wine gets its color from grape skins (the vast majority of wine grapes have clear juice). Typically, skin contact is the approach winemakers use when making Rosé, and they allow the grape juice to mingle with the skins for anywhere from one to three days.
Some Rosé is the byproduct of red wine fermentation. Using a technique called Saignée, winemakers who want to impart more tannin and a deeper color to their wine, bleed off some of the pink juice of the crushed grapes in order to intensify and concentrate the remaining wine. That pink juice is then fermented all on its own and becomes – Rosé. In this way, some Rosé is made from excellent grapes and by wonderful producers.
Lastly, Rosé can be made by simply blending finished red wine and finished white wine. This method is fairly uncommon but it still happens.
When considering a Rosé, take a look at the grapes that were used to make it – if you’re a red wine drinker you’ll be familiar with the names. Rosé can be made from any red wine grape and often a combination of a few different ones. Common Rosé grapes are Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamay (the grape of Beaujolais), and Cabernet Franc.
Although a Rosé made from Syrah and Grenache won’t taste like the red wine made from those same grapes, you’ll still get some of the spice and sweetness from each of the grapes, respectively. If you’re wondering how to pair a Rosé with food, think about white wines instead of red wines. Besides being light and refreshing, Rosé is particularly popular in the summertime because it goes so well with summertime faire like fresh salads, fruit and grilled seafood.