Your all-season guide to drinking rosé all day
It's the most wonderful time of the year... It’s Rosé season
Words— Kate Dingwall
As many an Instagram caption will declare, it's the most wonderful time of the year. It’s Rosé season, folks. Waves of pink-filled glasses are swarming patios across the nation, and tropes of #RoséallDay are bombarding Instagram captions.
Too often, Rosé is often seen as overtly feminine; the pink, sickly sweet stigma that surrounds the wine is to thank for that. At it's worse, Rosé is a sugar-leaning concoction favoured by bachelorettes drinking bottles at perilous rates. But Hecklers and gender stereotypes be damned: Rosé is for everyone, whether you're man, woman, or non-gendered, if you're a wine nerd or just searching for a perfect summer drink. At it's best, Rosé is sophisticated sip best suited for prolonged, languid days of summer.
Think of Rosé like an Aperol Spritz. It's a no-brainer order on a hot summer patio, and come fall; it's a great drink to savour those lingering moments of sunlight. Whatever the occasion, we're here to make a case for sipping Rosé all day.
What is Rosé?
Rosé, or pink wine in general, dances the wine between red and white. As common misconception may lead, Rosé is not a blend of red and white grapes.
Instead, Rosé wine happens when the skins of red grapes - the skins imbue the rich colour of red wine - just kisses the wine, rather lingering. Depending on the desired shade, the skins will stay in contact from just a day or so for a faint, rosy hue to upwards of weeks for a more punchy colour.
Much as you can have your preferred varietals of red wine, Rosé can lean the same. If you love the peppery notes of a Syrah, look to a Rosé that plays off the same palette. If you love red wine, opt for a varietal that will mimic that - like a Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. It’ll have the body of regular red wine, and richer notes to the wine. Most Rosés will have flavour profiles of red fruit, citrus, melon, though flavours like rhubarb and citrus also come into play. The characteristics will pivot based on varietal and location - Spanish rosatos boast a deep ruby colour while the French Grenache Rosé is flirty and pale.
You’ll also find sparkling Rosé and still Rosé, Rosé-inflicted ciders and beers, so whatever your drink of choice, try seeing it through Rosé coloured glasses.
What to Buy
You don’t need a sommelier certificate to pick out your next bottle of Rosé, but here are a few tricks to consider.
- Region: The main Rosé regions to look for are Provence from the South of France, the Loire, and Champagne in the North for sparkling iterations. Heading southward, look for Rioja, Basque, or Penedes regions in Spain. In the new world, you’ll find Rosé abundantly, though Mendocino County in Claifornia is a stronghold
- Sweetness: If you are looking for something on the sweeter side, look for a white merlot or a white zinfandel on the bottle. Both of these will veer sweet or semi-sweet. If you want something less sweet (re: dry), stay on the lookout for Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah or Tavel. These will be in the dry to bone-dry realm.
- Vintage: Don’t be fooled by the prestige of a long age statement: Rosé wines are meant to drink when they’re young and fresh.
Whispering Angel is the name on most's lips when they speak of Rosé. It sells out quickly - one sip and you'll see why. Made with grapes from the Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence region of France, it's a sinfully light, fresh wine made with a blend of Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah and Tibouren grapes. It's the epitome of a summer wine: pure, delicate, and utterly easy-drinking.
If you've got something to prove about the stereotypes that surround Rose, this is the bottle to buy. Yes, the bottle is gorgeous, but the classic blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah is a textbook example of why Rose is really, really good. It's crisp and citrusy (perfect for summer sipping!) but complex - it's got vibrant notes of red fruit and medium body to tempt even the most adamant of red wine drinkers.
Ruinart is the OG of Rosé: the brand has been making bubbles in the Champagne region since 1764. Made in the Champagne style, Ruinart's Rosé is high Chardonnay content makes it incredibly smooth to sip. The fat-bottomed bottle stands out easily on shelves and the liquid itself has a cheery, peachy springtime colour and tropical fruit flavours.
Another super summery, celebratory sip, Mionetto's Rosé Prosecco also doubles as a peachy addition to a Spritz: try it as the fizzy component to an Aperol Spritz, or with pineapple and mint in a Mojito riff. At $14, it's a steal, so stock up and drink liberally.
Unfiltered, unsulphered, and utterly full of flavour, Prince Edward County's Trail Estates has released a Cabernet Franc Rosé with all the fun, full body nature of your favourite red. If you can't get ahold of this bottle - the runs are small and limited in distribution - the winery also churns out a funky barrel fermented Rosé.
The vivacious notes of white peach and apricot dub Domaines Ott's Rosé BY.OTT gives a pleasant fruitiness to this wine. Recently introduced, the BY.OTT label brings the same meticulous attention to detail of the original Domaines Ott Rosés, but without the sticker shock of the main line.
Made in the Finger Lake region by acclaimed sommelier Thomas Pastuszak, Vinny takes the cringing out of drinking canned wine. The Rosé, in a millennial pink can, of course, is made with a blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris and Dry Riesling for a refreshing sip with notes of strawberry, lemon, and peach.
Francois Morissette's uncompromising wines come from a small corner of Ontario, but bat for the world stage. The Cuveé Roselana is a prime example of this, completely defying expecations of a Rosé. It's rich and dark - almost deep violet - made with savoury Pinot Noir and Gamay.