Home Enjoy Wine - Boela Gerber Rosé wine: Pretty in pink

Rosé wine: Pretty in pink

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“We don’t drink pink drinks, Dave. Always keep it real.” Irony is that, contrary to the pay-off line in the Windhoek Lager ad, people are drinking more pink drinks, especially rosé wine. So why this sudden popularity of rosé wine and what is the difference between Blanc de Noir and rosé?  

Why has pink become so popular?

One of the key reasons for the increase in rosé wine sales is greater choice. Gone are the days of choosing between Lanzerac Rosé and Bellingham Rosé. I paged through a 2002 Platter Wine Guide and counted 75 pink wines as opposed to 302 in the new guide!  

Another reason must be the increase in quality. As consumers showed more interest in rosé wines, winemakers realised the potential of this market and started to put more effort into producing serious, good quality rosé.  

The alcopop (Archer’s Aqua and Bacardi Breezer) generation has also added to the popularity as rosé wines offer an alternative to sweet alcoholic beverages for the younger consumers.  

The last reason is the increase in style and versatility of pink wines. I recently tasted on Wine Magazine’s Rosé Panel. We had to work our way through 108 pink wines, ranging from wannabe Sauvignon Blancs to borderline red wine. Even though I find it a very confused category, it does offer a very versatile range to the consumer.  

It is always easy to find reasons for change in hind sight but it could also be just a trend thing. Pink is after all the new black.

The difference between Blanc de Noir en rosé

Blanc de Noir, which literally means “white from black”, is made by applying white winemaking methods to red grape varieties. Remember that the juice of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon is just as white as that of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The colour pigment from red grapes is situated in the skin. By only allowing minimum contact between the skin and the juice one gets a very delicate pale salmon colour: Blanc de Noir. Leaving the juice on the skins for a few more hours gives more time for colour extraction which will result in a deeper, darker shade of pink: rosé. 

There is also the easy way out: Blend a bit of red wine into white wine to get a pretty pink wine. Blanc de Noir has to be made the authentic way, but rosé can also be made by blending red with white. Like I mentioned earlier, pink wine is a very confusing category. The wines range from light salmon to dark pink in colour, very fruity to pseudo Chardonnay in style and bone dry to sugary sweet. 

So how do you tell the difference?  This is the fun part: you can either try and decipher the back label or simply sample as many pink wines as you can lay your hands on!

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