Guide to Rosé


Chances are that at your next summer picnic, wedding or barbeque, there will be plenty of Rosé being poured. Pink is the new black.

The majority of Rosé wines are produced from a single or a blend of red grape varietals. Most commonly Pinot Noir, Malbec, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Sangiovese. Sparkling Rosé is often produced with a blend of red and white grapes.

So, how do winemakers create that elegant pink colour that is the perfect partner to the sunshine?

How Rosé is made

It’s all about skin to skin contact. Grape skins that is.

Wines get their colour not from the juice of a grape (that is always clear, in both red and white varietals), but from the juice’s contact with the skin of a grape.

Maceration Method

Through this method, winemakers allow the juice to soak with the skins. This is how red wines are made, but to make Rosé, they will be soaked for only a few days as opposed to months or years, until the perfect shade of ‘pink’ is reached. Skins are then removed and the juice is allowed to ferment.

‘Maceration’ is the process for producing most Rosé around the world.

Saignée (or “Bled”) Method

This is when red wine makers want to increase the intensity of their reds, so they “bleed” off some of the liquid. This leftover juice is then made into a separate still Rosé.

Blending Method

Here, a small amount of red wine is added to a vat of white wine to make Rosé. This is primarily used to make sparkling styles, and is even used in some Champagnes, where a little Pinot Noir is added to the traditionally made bubbles.

Rosé flavour

The ‘base’ flavours of Rosé are floral and perfumed, featuring red-skinned fruit, citrus, and melon, with a pleasant ‘green’ finish.

Rose wine can be produced in a sweet, off-dry or bone dry style. But the defining factor of most Rosé is that the flavour will reflect the grape that the wine was made with.

The iconic wine region known for creating the most consistent tasting rosés that are on the dry side, is Provence in France.

New Zealand Rosé

Rosé is currently the fastest-growing wine category in the country, and people the world over love the various New Zealand styles on offer.

Our Tohu Rewa Rosé Methode Traditionelle 2015 tasting notes;

A delicate soft salmon pink in the glass, this complex yet elegant méthode traditionnelle rosé displays fresh strawberry, hints of ripe stonefruit and underlying notes of brioche and toasted hazelnut. The fine persistent bead and creamy mousse lead to a rich and weighty palate balanced with focused acidity and biscuity complexity derived from yeast autolysis. Elegant integration of primary fruit flavours derived from Pinot Noir grapes lead this generous and rounded wine to a smooth, lively and lingering finish.

And our Tohu Pinot Rose 2018 is described as;

A delicate salmon pink in the glass, this Pinot Rosé displays aromas of redcurrant and hints of floral rose petal, leading to a palate of crushed summer berries, pink melon and citrus. Finely balanced with soft phenolics and a just a touch of very subtle sweetness, this vibrant and fresh 100% Pinot Noir Rosé has a wonderfully long, dry finish.


Storing Rosé

To maximise the shelf life of an unopened bottle, store in a cool, dark area, away from direct heat or sunlight. Try your best to keep the temperature steady.

When you’re planning to serve your prized Rosé, remember that an unopened white wine should not be refrigerated until one to two days before drinking. This is not always possible of course with many wines from supermarkets or liquor stores storing wine in fridges these days.

Storing opened Rosé

Once you twist the cap your wine is exposed to oxygen and bacteria which begins to alter its colour, aromas and flavour. Always sit your open wine in the fridge, with the cap back on.

Your Rosé should still be drinkable for around three to five days. If it’s a sparkling style, it should still have “bubbles” after two days.

If you’re concerned that it has turned, look at the wine in a clear glass for changes in colour and trust your sense of smell. Then taste it - it won’t ever hurt you, even if it has turned. If you detect an ‘off’ odour, flavour or appearance, it should be discarded, unless you want to turn it into wine vinegar, which is becoming more popular (and is remarkably easy).

How to serve Rosé

Serve chilled, at around seven degrees.

Be careful of putting wine in a freezer. A common problem for both white and rose wines is to be served too chilled. Experts agree this can stifle the bouquet and mask flavours.

Some wine glass manufacturers have recently designed vessels specifically for Rosé, resembling the shape of tulip Champagne glasses.

But if you’re not in the market for high end stemware, just consider the grape when selecting a glass. For instance, a Rosé made with Cabernet Sauvignon can be served in a Cabernet Sauvignon glass.


Nutritional information

Rosé will vary greatly in terms of nutritional breakdown, especially as the fermentation process differs from brand to brand, season to season, and bottle to bottle, and depends greatly on the age of the grapes and style of wine.

Calories in Rosé

Experts suggest that a ‘standard’ glass will contain around 138 calories (though the calorie content will change depending on the sweetness and ABV (alcohol) of the wine.

Alcohol content in Rosé

Because Rosé is fermented from grapes some of the calories will be carbohydrates in the form of sugar, but the majority of calories actually stem from the alcohol content itself, which is usually around 11.5%–13.5% ABV.

Preservatives and additives in Rosé

Mass-produced wines often from overseas are more likely to be additive-rich. We recommend always checking labels.

In New Zealand, strict food safety regulations control the use of wine protectants or preservatives and all wineries are audited on this annually.

At Tohu, the concept of caring deeply for our lands and their rich and fertile condition create wines of personality and purity.  We therefore use as little additives as possible and adhere to the strictest of standards. Our vineyards and winery are certified by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

Pairing Rosé with food

A lot of people treat Rosé as an aperitif in summer - a trend started by the French, historically.

A bright, crisp, scented Rose is certainly a refreshing palate cleanser, but it can also pair well with plenty of different foods.

The trick is to look at the grapes that the Rosé was made from. For example, a light, dry Rosé will pair well with food that suits other dry white wines. Think pasta and white rice dishes, salads and seafood. Conversely, bolder, full-bodied Rosé will compliment rich or spicy cuisine, like a red wine varietal would.

Pairing cheese with Rosé follows the same general idea. Tangy goat’s cheese will pair well with dry, light Rosé. And a rich Camembert is a great match for a more fruity Rosé, that isn’t overly sweet. Mature, hard, smelly cheese will pair perfectly with a Rosé made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.