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Is Rosé Wine sweet or dry?

The history of Rosé Wine is older than many might know. Ancient winemakers in the south of France already pressed a light, soft pink wine. Then there was the Clairet, which became famous in Bordeaux in the Middle Ages. This was the start in the direction of a modern Rosé which we now enjoy, the salmon-colored Rosé. There has been quite a bit of pink development over the centuries. In ancient times, honey, raisins and other fruits were added to wine to sweeten it, but there was also a tradition of dry wines during Roman times. 

We take a historical leap and take a look into the recent past of the 80s and 90s, when keywords like “Weißherbst”, “Mateus” or “White Zinfandel” make us wince a little.   

“Weißherbst” a German labeling actually only means Rosé from a single red wine variety, not a Cuvée. However, this term in the past rather stood for sweet or semi-dry wines made from leftover grapes. The trend at that time was clearly sweet. 

The famous sweet Mateus Rosé from Portugal, which became famous in the 1970s, gained great success, especially in the USA, before the sweet White Zinfandel "White Zin" took over the US in the 80s. Although this was called "White Zinfandel" it was also made from red Zinfandel grapes and therefor a Rosé. 

The big trend towards dry wines over the past 20 years has also given Rosé a real boost. The winemakers in Provence were primarily responsible for this. For years and with full focus and strict guidelines, premium Rosé has been produced in the South of France. The most famous Rosé representatives such as Whispering Angel Rosé, Domaines Ott, Miraval or UP Ultimate Provence come from this area. When it comes to “dry” Rosés you can rely on Provence. All Rosés bearing the “Côtes de Provence” seal contain a maximum of 4 grams of residual sugar per liter. That means the wines are absolutely dry! In theory, wines with up to 10 grams of residual sugar can even be called dry... 

Why do Provence Rosés still taste so round and fruity? This is due to the high quality of the grapes, the cooled pressing and cold fermentation. This preserves the fruity aromas of the grapes without being pushed with sugar. 

The low sugar content naturally has a big advantage: The Provence Rosés have less calories! 

It is of course important to emphasize that nowadays many winegrowers and wineries outside of Provence have similar quality standards for their Rosés and also produce them dry. The color intensity of the Rosés does not reflect sweetness or dryness of the wine.

In summary, you can say that most of the Rosés in the premium segment are dry these days. If you want to be on the safe dry side, chose a Rosé from the Provence!




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