A rosé (from French rosé; also known as Rose in Portugal and Spanish-speaking countries and rosato in Italy) is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. It may be the oldest known type of wine, as it is the most straightforward to make with the skin contact method. The pink color can range from a pale “onion-skin” orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the varietals used and winemaking techniques. There are three major ways to produce rosé wine: skin contact, saignée and blending. Rosé wines can be made still, semi-sparkling or sparkling and with a wide range of sweetness levels.
Like white wines, rosés tend to have crisper acidity, lower alcohol and lighter body when grown in cooler places, which means places with maritime influence or high altitude. There’s not really a particular geographical place in Portugal that is famous for making rosés – although as far as drinking is concerned, rosé is predominantly a seaside wine, also much exported. Every imaginable red grape, Portuguese and foreign, is made into rosé.
When to drink & Food pairings
Lovely, fruity and fresh alternatives to crisp dry whites, most rosés slip down all too easily and you might do well to choose your beach or summer barbecue bottle from the lower end of the alcohol scale. Dry, fruity rosés are good with a whole array of light-flavored food, including vegetable and salad dishes, thanks to their gentle (even if consciously imperceptible) sweetness.