(Italian rosato: Spanish rosado)The French word, most commonly used throughout the wine world for pink wine. It is made in many wine regions. Although formerly the best roses were made only by allowing the skins of the black grapes to remain long enough in the fermenting must to tinge it with colour; nowadays it is often also permitted in many regions to make rose by blending red and white wine. Roses made in northern vineyards are apt to be paler in tone than those coming from the south, because the pigments in the skins of the black grapes are not sufficiently reacted on by the sun to tint the must to a deep colour. Mediterranean ros£s, on the other hand, are almost like red wines in colour. Good rose is a pleasant drink, but it is usually at its best when young and fresh and there are very few that benefit by being kept – a few of the single estate wines of Tavel and certain wines from very fine makers are exceptions. This is why a rose seldom bears a vintage date.
Because of its light character and, often, its delicacy, rose is not really an all-purpose or ‘when in doubt’ wine. It is often, erroneously, supposed to be less alcoholic also. It will, for example, tend to be overwhelmed by most hot meat dishes, such as roasts or stews: flat fish with sauces, such as turbot, salmon or sea bass, will also swamp it. It is therefore rather a silly choice if, at a restaurant meal a gathering of people choose fish and meat dishes; it is better to offer a robust white wine, or have both red and white. However rose can be delicious with lightly-flavoured cold food, and will certainly go with rather delicately flavoured fish, as well as meat and plain poultry dishes. It should always be served chilled, but not iced to the extent that it tastes of nothing.