Rosés have returned & Blush is back-and more popular than ever!


Blushes or Rosés, one of the easiest drinking and great warm weather wines has enjoyed tremendous popularity in Europe for many years. However, in North America it is often associated with the Californian Zinfandel blushes made famous in the 70’s which were produced to cater to those who were just beginning to explore the world of wine. These wines from the early days were often very light in body, quite sweet and of course an aesthetically pleasing pink hue to appeal to the masses. In all fairness a great entry level wine. How many of us really appreciated or truly enjoyed a great Bordeaux or could even afford one in our early 20’s?

Well, Blushes, Rosés, or White Zinfandels are back and more popular than ever. No longer do they hold the stigma of ‘cheap and sweet’. There now exist a vast number of excellent and higher end Rosés on the market and many tend to be off-dry or even dry (less than a 1or 2 in sweetness or less than 5% residual sugar).

For those of you wondering how blushes are made, it is quite simple. ( No… it is not a mix of red and white wine…sorry I couldn’t resist). They are made from red grapes by a short exposure to the skins during maceration (fermentation). The colour or pigment of a grape is contained in the skins as is much of the tannin thus making Rosés not only a lighter red or pink hue but less tannic (or astringent) thus the softness of the wine and it’s easy drinking character. There are many Rosés made from a wide variety of red grapes which allow you to pick up some of the characteristics of these red varietals without the heavier body or tannins associated with them (no headaches). Therefore with a good blush you can detect some nuances of the varietal and can be a good foray for some to enter the world of red wine. Yes, they are often sweeter in style however there are many that are dry. Often you will recognize the wine by its pinkish hue but you can also identify it by the name. For example if you see a red varietal followed by the word Blush, Rosé or Blanc it will most likely be a pinkish colour. More so lately, I have seen wines like White Merlot, Zinfandel Blanc even Pinot Noir blanc. The name of a red varietal followed by these words usually means it’s in the form of a Blush or Rosé. Some higher end examples include a good Tavel. Grenache and Syrah are often used to make Rosés as well.

I must say I am enjoying these wine styles more than I ever have ( I was self-admittedly not a huge blush fan in the past). I recall a warm summer day, barbecuing on the back deck and my company arrives mid-afternoon. It’s way too early, and way to warm, to open the Amarone I have destined for dinner with my carnivorous menu. Not just because it’s too hot for a high alcohol, too big and too tannic a wine, but because I want my guests to keep their heads from falling in their plates. My solution was to start with a blush or Rosé, or as I call it a “patio pleaser”. Rosé also tend to be a little lighter in alcohol and can be quite refreshing. The rest is ‘craigswine’ history. Rosés are quite pleasing in this situation as well picnics, cottages and even camping.

So when I’m not in the mood for a red but white just isn’t in the cards, I tend to think Blush. So give Rosés or Blushes a try and remember there is a time and a place for all wines and there are most definitely times that cater to this easy drinking warm weather wine style. And please keep in mind that spicy foods such as Thai or Asian are wonderful matches with these wines. I mention that just in case you have to order in because you accidentally left the food too long on the bbq.


Craig’s Winexpert Picks:

Selection Original White Zinfandel- A medium bodied rosé with varietal characteristics of red berries. Sweetness 2.

Selection Original White Merlot- A light to medium Rosé wine with a fresh strawberry nose. Sweetness 1.

Photo Credit: Blazey