Mailbag Monday: Identifying A Dry Rosé?

Hi Alleigh:Glass of Rose in the sunroomI was wondering how to tell if a rosé is going to be sweet or dry.  Do you just have to ask?  I mean, I know if it’s White Zin, but if it’s something French, what do I look for?

Your timing for this question is perfect!  After almost a year hiatus, Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW) is returning, and the theme for WBW #80 is Dry Rosé.  This means that on Wednesday, August 14th, wine bloggers from all over the world will share details on this versatile type of wine, and I’m sure there will be numerous blog posts about wines you’ll want to find.

In the meantime, while there isn’t one easy answer to your question, there are a couple of key things to look for when buying “pink” wine that will hopefully help you avoid (or pick out) something sweet.

To start with, while it sounds like you already know this, the type of grape the wine is made with can be very helpful in determining if the wine is dry or sweet. If it’s White Zinfandel, White Merlot, Pink Moscato, it is going to be a sweet wine.

Another clue that the wine will be sweet is if it says “blush” somewhere on the label. This designation is almost exclusively used by non-European wine producers, which is probably another indicator in itself for how sweet the wine will be.

When it comes to French Rosé, it’s dry by definition.  If for some reason, it is a sweet French Rosé, there will likely be some indication on the bottle.  If you’re looking at French wines, it’s helpful to remember that the southern France area of Provence is the largest wine region in the world to specialize in dry rosé, and they’re often delicious, affordable wines.  Tavel, Gigondas, and Vacqueyras (which are all in the Rhone Valley) and Anjou (which is in the Loire Valley) are also well-known for Rosé, but the wines from these regions tend to be a little more expensive.

Spain is another country worth looking at when it comes to quality, inexpensive Rosé.  It’s a little harder to find non-sparkling, Spanish Rosé (or Rosado) in the U.S., but when you do, they tend to be made from the Grenache grape, have more intense flavors than the French Rosé, and are also usually dry.

One last thought, since you’re looking for dry Rosé, my favorites are oddly enough both from California—the Michel-Schlumberger ‘Le Flirt’ and the Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris, which I will review on August 14th for #WBW80).

While this doesn’t give you a foolproof way to determine whether a Rosé is dry or sweet, hopefully it gives you some useful tools to at least help make an decision.

Question of the Day: Do you tend to prefer sweet or dry Rosé?


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