Do you always pick the lightest one..?

Is pale rosé better? – ask Decanter

It’s a common misconception that the paler the rose, the better the quality.

Paler styles are commonly found in the popular rosé region of Provence, other regions can often have a deeper hue.

We’re not necessarily talking about those White Zinfandel blush wines; look at many Navarra rosé wines, for example.

A lot of the time, the colour of the rosé depends on the amount of skin contact during fermentation.

The grape itself makes a difference too. Thicker skins mean more potential colour extract.

Using Mourvèdre, like in Bandol, or Cabernet Sauvignon, like in Bordeaux, will result in a deeper colour.

‘If you’re using Mourvèdre – it just gives more colour,’ Nicolas Bronzo from La Bastide Blanche winery told Decanter.com at the Decanter Mediterranean Fine Wine Encounter. ‘You can’t help it.’

‘It gives more complexity, structure – and a deeper colour.’

Bronzo admits that the trend towards pale rosés is influencing the winemaking techniques for some.

‘You don’t want it too dark – a commercial problem exists. We do this by regulating the skin contact.’

Pale rosé: Style over substance?

‘Aperitif and easy drinking rosés can be pale – but sometimes these have less finish and body,’ said Bronzo.

In Decanter’s best rosés around the world tasting in 2016, expert Elizabeth Gabay MW said ‘Colour had little correlation with quality, but reflected variety and origin.’

‘A few were almost water-white, with little fruit character, suggesting that more effort had gone into appearance than taste.’

It all comes down to your own taste, of course. But the message is clear; don’t judge a rosé by its colour alone.


Rosé and food pairing: Fiona Beckett recommends a bold off-dry rosé with hot, Sichuanese-style dishes and Matthieu Longuere MS says rosé wine is a ‘no brainer’ when it comes to pairing with tomatoes.


Find award winning rose wines from this year’s DWWA

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