For as long as I’ve been in the wine industry, I don’t think there has been any wine that has been more misunderstood than Rose. It’s almost in the same context as Riesling, whereas many people assume that it’s going to be sweet. Many Rieslings can be quite sweet, although many can be quite dry. The same goes for Roses. Don’t get me wrong, there are times where one of the White Zinfandels make me want to cringe, but that’s truly only a fraction of what wines are out there. Sure, the sheer breadth of volume of sweet White Zinfandels is high, although there are more styles of drier roses than sweeter.
There is almost a superiority complex with Rose, that if someone is at a restaurant drinking something pink in their glass, other people automatically assume that person is drinking “swill.” I think with the mysticisms behind rose nowadays, that they are truly inhibiting many people from enjoying something that can be quite refreshing
The way Rose is made, is actually quite simple. Generally, Roses are from red grapes. The way that Roses get their color, is from the skin contact from the grape. So you can get a Rose from a Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Malbec, a Grenache, and many other grapes. Some producers may blend in a bit of a white wine in there, but that is actually uncommon.
A few producers make Rose, from their “leftovers” for lack of a better term, although there are plenty of producers that specialize in Rose. The heartland of Rose is in the south of France, particularly Provence and Costieres de Nimes. There is a region in France called Tavel, that produce Roses that are literally as austere as any red. With France leading the charge, there are many other regions producing excellent Roses, like Italy and Spain.
I don’t look at Roses as being complex, or as a wine you really want to get serious about. I look at Rose as being something you can drink at any time, with a WIDE variety of foods, without leaving out flavor and acidity. You can find most Roses in the $10-$15 range, with a few exceptions. My suggestion, is the next time your having a wine tasting with friends or family, have a Rose to start off the night before you get to the big reds!