The dark side of Rosé - Darker shades of pink show a different side to Rosé wine
When we think, talk, and drink Rosé we often refer to the pale, blush pink wines that are typical of Provence and have managed to capture the imagination of the wine world at large. But there is so much more to the realm of pink wine that meets the eye. There is something darker stirring in different corners of the world, adding a new layer of soul, complexity, and a whole different character to the bright and refreshing wines of the summer.
Darker and heavier
Making Rosé wines is a whole other art form in winemaking. Winemakers have to decide how long to leave the juice to ferment on the skins before taking them out. For different red grapes, this becomes almost like a science where the characteristics of the grape play a huge role in the end product. For example, the lighter skinned Grenache and Pinot Noir grapes create almost blush pink Rosé wines with that are crisp, fruity, and refreshing. However, if you take a red grape like a Tempranillo can be a little bit more savory.
Other grapes like Nero d'Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon, or wines from Tavel region in the Rhone valley (which are all Rosé) can show you just what the presence of darker grapes and darker wine can do. Wines that have a darker pink hue start to show more characteristics akin to a red wine, with flavors coming off from darker fruits like cherries, blackberries, and plums, as well as some savory flavors, and even a few tannins. These wines feel like they carry a little more soul, a little extra weight, and a deeper kick than their paler cousins. Its like rock and roll turning into heavy metal, or early hip-hop giving the base for bands like NWA.
What makes darker Rosé so awesome?
What makes these darker hued Rosé wines so awesome is that even with this extra heartiness, there is still a great balance between flash fruit-forward flavors, acidity, and minerality. The character gained from a long time spent fermenting on the skins leads to a more concentrated flavor profile, something much more intense, and electric. As such these wines become much more capable of pairing with just about any meal you can throw at them. They might not go with some more delicate or acidic foods like ceviche for example, but they won't miss the mark when paired alongside a roast chicken, or a steak salad.
Still, many of these wines remain super fun to drink, super refreshing, and a whole lot of fun. They are wines that will make you smile, make your friends happy, and make you excited about what is going on. Brings these wines to a party, or share it with friends and you will have people interested at first sight and captured at first sip. You're bound to hear somebody say "Ooh! What is this?" or "Oh my god this is so much better than regular Rosé!" Dare we say your friends might even call it "glou glou" and we would agree. These are super cool wines, so and as such will make you cool amongst even the most discerning of your wino friends.
What to look out for when seeking darker Rosé wines
There are a few things you can look out for if you are seeking a darker Rosé wine. Obviously, the color is a dead giveaway when it the wine is packaged in a clear bottle, but here are a couple of tricks that will help you find something awesome.
Look for darker skinned grape varieties:
Martha Stoumen makes a fantastic Rosé from Nero d'Avola. These grapes are super dark and as such her natural wine Rosato is a deeper, electric red. It has a lot of savory notes, but still packs a powerful punch of darker fruits. Rosé wines made from grapes like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and even Pinotage (yes, that's a thing) tend to be a lot darker as well and tend to be heavier on the berry fruit rather than the citrus fruits.
Seek out wines from Tavel:
Tavel is a region in the Rhone valley that deals exclusively in Rosé. Their unique style and traditions make these wines very different from their lighter Provence counterparts that is darker, and fuller bodied. Famously a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, these wines have more tannins than other Rosé wines and are better suited to pairing with an array of foods. They can also benefit a bit from aging.
Look out for wines made using the Saignee method:
The Saignee method of making Rosé is something we have not talked about much here on Vynl, but it is something we are exploring more and more. Rosé wines made from the Saignee method are made from juice that has been "bled" off from a red wine before it starts fermenting. Winemakers will bleed off a small portion of the juice in making a red wine while it is still in contact with the skins so that the remaining wine will be richer and fuller. The wine that the bleed off is fermented alone and turned into a Rosé. If this juice has been bled of off a really intense grape like a Cabernet Sauvignon for example, you will get a darker, more intense wine with notes of pepper, spice, other savory tones. Its like the devil's cut of wine, a delicious sacrifice in the pursuit of making a more powerful red.