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    How Does Rosé Taste? (Flavours & Food Pairings)

    Rose Wine Taste

    Rosé is often depicted as a halfway house between red wine and white wine, tending to have qualities associated with both styles.

    But what does that mean for Rosé’s taste?

    What does a Rosé wine taste like and how should you describe your Rosé?

    What Does Rosé Wine Taste Like?

    Rose Wine Taste

    Depending on the perception of certain elements, the taste of wine can vary from person to person. It's what makes tasting wine such an interesting and personal activity. 

    There are, however, a lot of characteristics that most Rosé tends to share. 

    For starters they are all a shade of varying pink in colour - Rosé by name and Rosé by nature. 

    Rosé wine varies in taste depending on what grapes are used and what region those grapes are grown in.

    However, some flavour characteristics you can expect from Rosé wines include really fresh acidity like cranberries, tangerines and grapefruit.

    Rosé wines are also known for their fruity and floral primary flavours, think: 

    • Roses
    • Strawberries
    • Raspberries
    • Peaches
    • Cherry blossoms

    Some Rosé wines can have lots of saline minerality and others can be sweeter in style, tasting like berry trifle and sweet pomegranates.

    Sweetness of Rose Common Flavours Variety
    Very Dry Watermelon,
    Tavel, Grenache
    Semi Dry Cherry,
    Cabernet Sauv
    Dry Melon,
    Pinot Noir,
    Off Dry Clove,
    Red Fruits
    Semi Sweet Dried Fruit,
    Sparkling Rose, Montepulciano
    Sweet Raspberry,
    White Merlot,
    White Zinfandel
    Very Sweet Berry,
    Stone Fruit
    Pink Moscato

    But you can’t taste a colour, so how can you taste Rosé?

    How To Taste Rose Wine?

    The key to tasting Rosé well is in learning how to break down the elements of sugar, acidity and tannins.

    Let’s take a look:

    1. Identify Sweetness of The Rose

    Sweetness of Rose

    Rosé wines can vary from the very dry to the sickly sweet.

    You’ll probably be able to tell from a sip or two just how sweet your Rosé is, but if you're not sure this little trick will help.

    Try pinching your nose when taking a drink.

    If you can’t taste any sugar then, chances are you definitely have a dry Rosé on your hands, but if you get lots of sweet, sugary sensations on your tongue then you’ve got a sweet Rosé instead.

    Read our guide: Is Rose Sweet?

    2. Determine The Acidity 

    Next up it’s all about acidity levels.

    Acidity produces saliva so a great way to determine how acidic your Rosé is is by literally paying attention to how much your mouth waters in response!

    Simply put, if your mouth isn’t drooling at the flavours of your Rosé then it's likely you have a wine with lower acidity levels.

    3. Taste The Tannins

    Tannins are present in the skins of grapes, and in the Rosé winemaking process only a short amount of skin contact time is encouraged, so there will be minimal tannins present in this style.

    So how do these factors of sweet, acid and tannin affect the taste of your Rosé?

    What Affects The Taste of Rose?

    Rose Wine Tastes

    The final flavour of a Rosé is determined by the amount of sweetness, acidity and tannins found in the glass.

    • Very sweet Rosé may taste like strawberry laces, candyfloss and syrupy peaches.
    • Very acidic Rosé wines may taste like half moons of grapefruit and fresh punnets of raspberries.
    • Learning to notice each element is vital when it comes to describing a glass of Rosé in good detail and can help you ask for recommendations based on the wines you like.

    But what characteristics are generally associated with Rosé? 

    What Are Rosé Wine Characteristics

    Here are some of the characteristics associated with a typical glass of Rosé:

    • Body - Rosé wines can either be very light in body or very opulent in body, and this really depends on the style
    • Tannins - Not a lot of skin contact is needed to make Rosé wines, so tannin levels will be low
    • Sweetness - This will vary from Rosé to Rosé, but you can expect a lot of sweet, berry fruit flavours to appear in your glass of Rosé, even with the dry styles!
    • Dryness - Not all Rosé wines are dry! Those that are drier will perhaps be made in the Provence style, so always ask your wine retailer if you’re unsure here. 
    • ABV - Rosé wines vary in alcohol percentage, but the majority will sit somewhere between the 11-14% ABV mark, although always check the label.

    But do different types of Rosé have different characteristics?

    Or does all Rosé taste the same?

    3 Types of Rosé Wine Tastes 

    Types of RoseHere are some of the most common Rosé styles you may come across and the tastes and characteristics associated with them:

    1. Provence Rosé

    Originating from the South of France this style of Rosé is dry, pale and perfumed. Drunk by locals, tourists and movie stars alike. 

    2. White Zinfandel

    This is as big and as bold as a Rosé wine can get.

    Think fuschia pink, buckets of personality and tasting notes oozing with watermelon, pomegranate jewels and glistening strawberries sprinkled with sugar and lime zest.

    3. Rosé Rioja

    Not all Rioja is red, some can be Rosé too.

    And this style of Rosé is unoaked and dry with lots of bright cherry acidity.

    Make sure you read our guide on the temperature to chill your rose to get maximum enjoyment from each glass!

    Before You Go...

    Rose Wine Barrels

    And there you have it!

    Everything you need to know about why Rosé tastes the way it does.

    Interested in finding out more about the taste of wines?

    Read our guide about what does wine taste like.

    Related Guides

    Use your newfound knowledge to help you next time you’re after a very particular bottle for your next dinner out. 

    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin