rosé wine comes in many shades
Rosé, Blanc de Noir, Pink wines – there must be more misconceptions about Rosé wines than almost any category of wine. Wine industry veteran Cathy Marston slays a few.

Rosé Myth #1: Rosé is made by blending red and white wines together

All the colour in wine comes from the skins of the grapes. Nearly all grape juice is white, so red grape juice starts out in life as white grape juice, then, gradually, the colour is leached from the skins to turn the liquid red. En route to becoming a red wine, it goes through ever deepening shades of pink, the longer the juice remains in contact with the skins, so if the winemaker is making a Rosé wine, then as soon as he is happy with the colour, all he has to do is remove the skins and, hey presto, pink wine.

Rosé Myth #2: All Rosé is sweet

This is just twisted logic because colour and sweetness have absolutely zero in common – it’s just that, in the past, MOST Rosé wines had a healthy dose of sugar to help it go down. The trend nowadays is towards drier styles, particularly from the posher producers. How can you tell if your Rosé is dry? Well, if you’re lucky they’ll tell you on the label, but otherwise, here is my VERY rough rule of thumb – if the Rosé is in a clear bottle with a white label and a silver screwcap, chances are it’s dry!

Rosé Myth #3: Blanc de Noir and Rosé wines are different styles

Blanc de Noir is just a fancy word for Rosé. Translated from the French, it literally means “white from black”. In reality Blanc de Noir mostly means a very pale Rosé wine. There is hardly any contact with the grapeskins, so it’s virtually a white wine made from black grapes. Nowadays most wineries use the name of the black grape variety instead (e.g. Merlot Rosé), particularly if their wine is dry because blanc de noir wines have a bit of a reputation for being on the sweeter side of life.

Rosé Myth #4: Pink wine is for girls

Actually, I don’t even know why I’m wasting my time answering this myth. Unlike the irritating sexism of a “ladies steak” (quite apart from the awful punctuation), there is no such thing as a “ladies wine”. Real men do drink pink drinks and real men definitely do drink Rosé wine – it’s as simple as that. But if you still need convincing, ask yourself this – if Brad Pitt can make a pink wine (His Chateau Miraval was rated 2012’s best Rosé wine), then how much more macho do you want it to be? I rest my case.

Rosé Myth #5: Rosé wine is only for an aperitif

If you suggest this to a Frenchman or Spaniard, they would laugh like drains. All around the Mediterranean, the drink of choice is Rosé and particularly with food. All the flavours of the Med – garlic, herbs, olives, lush salads, fresh seafood – are perfect with pink wine, so don’t just sip it beforehand, give a Rosé wine a go with your meal and see what I mean.

Cathy teaches winemakers, sommeliers and scores of enthusiastic drinkers about their favourite tipple and is a Platter’s Wine guide Taster.
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Buy her book ‘Love Your Wine’ from Exclusive Books or learn more about wine by signing up for one of her internationally recognised Wine & Spirit Education Trust courses at
You can also watch her weekly Wine Wednesday tasting note videos right here on Wine23.

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