What is rosé wine?

For centuries, dry rosé wine has been a staple in the south of France, where it is embraced as the best lunchtime, seaside, and all-occasion wine. Particularly in the coastal Provence region, the heart of the world’s dry rosé production, a passion for dry pink permeates the culture.

Provençal citizens know from centuries of winegrowing history that vin rosé pairs with all the foods they like, any time of year. In fact, French rosé outsells white wine in France.

In North America, however, some consumers still equate pink with sweet, based on past encounters with sugary White Zinfandel. Yet, as rosé experiences a global rebirth and wine consumers become more knowledgeable, North American wine drinkers are discarding the misperception that dry rosé wines are the same as sweet blush wines. They’re discovering the joy of what some call the world’s most versatile wine.

So what is a true rosé? First, rosé is a category of wine – just as white and red are categories. It takes its name from the French word for pink.

Within the rosé category you’ll find a variety of styles, some fuller, some lighter. Even within a single wine-producing region, such as Provence, rosés will display a range of colors, textures, and flavors. Yet all Provence rosés have some common characteristics: on the palate they tend to be fresh, crisp, bright, and dry. 

A typical American blush wine contains nearly seven times as much residual sugar per liter as a Provençal rosé. Provence rosé is by definition not sweet.

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